The Infectious Strain of Tuberculosis.

So many things have changed, and things are not the way they used to be, for some of these changes we are excited and happy, and for others, we wish they they never happened. Tuberculosis was more serious before, it was one condition that made families avoid their loved ones for the fear of spreading it, one of the good things that medical advancement and improvement have given to us is the prevention and cure of tuberculosis. Considering the high level of infection spread, it is unavoidable to find the rate of stigmatization to be a very high one.

Tuberculosis is a strong infectious disease affecting the lungs, the disease is a popular one as [WHO] records that, around 1.5 million people died from the infection in 2020, it also stands to be the 13th most common global death recorded, it is so popular that after covid-19, it is recorded to be the second most infectious cause of death.


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Under the right condition, tuberculosis is preventable and curable. Bacteria causing tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air through sneezes and coughs. Tuberculosis infections began to spread in 1985 and the emergence of HIV can be blamed for this, you may be asking how HIV could be linked with tuberculosis, I will explain shortly. HIV is a virus that causes AIDS, this virus weakens a person's immune system and it becomes unable to fight tuberculosis germs, as a result of constant improvement and medical development, the spread of tuberculosis began to decrease by 1993, but it is still very much around till date.

Even if the body of humans has the capacity to harbor the bacteria causing tuberculosis, the immune system has the ability to prevent sickness from occurring. After inhaling Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a person may catch the infection, this infection is spread usually from person to person.
The type of tuberculosis that affects the lungs is usually the most contagious one but the infection only happens upon close contact. Tuberculosis can be classified in two ways;

Latent Tuberculosis(Tuberculosis Infection).
It is possible to have tuberculosis bacteria in the body and never show any type of symptom. In most cases, the immune system could ''hold up'' (if that is an appropriate word to use) the bacteria, in a situation like this, the person with the bacteria would not have any active disease even if he/she is a carrier of the infection, but will be able to pass the infection to someone else. However, someone who has latent tuberculosis still needs treatment.

Tuberculosis Disease (Active Tuberculosis).
This case is more common when the immune system is weak, usually as a result of an existing condition or the use of certain medications. In this case, the body is usually unable to hold the TB bacteria, people with this category of TB infection can spread the infection as well. The chances of developing active tuberculosis are usually higher in cases of;

  • Anyone who has a weak immune system.
  • People who have never received appropriate treatment for tuberculosis.
  • Those who actively reject recreational drugs.
  • Those who have had the infection in the past 2-5 years.
  • Young and old adults.


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Most people with latent tuberculosis do not even know that they have it since it does not come with any associated symptoms, it is only a skin or a blood test that can tell the presence of tuberculosis. Active tuberculosis however comes with visible symptoms like;

  • Chest pain.
  • Cough that lasts beyond 3 months.
  • Constantly feeling tired.
  • Cold.
  • Weight loss.
  • Sweating at night.
  • Coughing out blood.
  • Fever.

The only way to get tuberculosis is by coming in contact with someone who has the infection, it is caused by a bacteria that spread through the air, like flu or cold. You may possibly get the infection if;

  • If you live or work in a hospital or in a nursing home.
  • If you smoke consistently.
  • If you belong to a group where tuberculosis is more likely to spread or you live with someone like that, this includes those who have HIV, those in jail or prison, or those who inject drugs into their veins.
  • An active family member or a co-worker who has tuberculosis.

The presence of a healthy immune system will conveniently help you fight tuberculosis bacteria, but it may be impossible to fight the infection if you have these underlying conditions;

  • HIV or AIDS.
  • Diabetes.
  • Poor nutrition/low body weight.
  • Medications specifically for organ transplants.
  • A serious kidney disease.
  • Cancer treatments.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Low body weight.
  • Drugs meant for the treatment of Crohn's disease, psoriasis, and even rheumatoid arthritis.

When a person who has tuberculosis talks, laughs, sneezes, coughs, or even as much as sings, they have the tendency of dropping tiny droplets containing the germs, as a person who does not have the germ, if you breathe in the germs then you would probably catch the virus. However, it is not so easy to catch the virus, you will need to spend a lot of time around a person who has a lot of this bacteria deposited in their lungs to have it spread to you. The germ does not survive on surfaces, so it is impossible to get it from a handshake or by sharing a drink or a portion of food.

Normally, bacterial infections begin to show signs of improvement after a week or two even without treatment, but not in the case of tuberculosis, as it is more difficult to treat. Multiple medications are usually recommended as some TB strains grow resistant to certain drugs. Some medications may take up 12weeks, or even 6-9 months before treatment occurs.

It is best to practice tips that will help you prevent the spread of tuberculosis;

  • Get tested for tuberculosis if you have HIV or if you have any other condition that could increase your chances of getting infected.

  • Visit a doctor for an appropriate test before and after visiting a country with a high rate of tuberculosis.

  • Follow through on a prevention course when you work in the same place with a person who carries the bacteria or shows symptoms of the bacteria.

  • Avoid every form of prolonged/consistent contact with a person who shows symptoms of the bacteria.

  • If you ever get diagnosed with an active case of tuberculosis, do sure to avoid gatherings until sure that you are no longer contagious.

  • When you have active TB and you need to spend time with others, make sure to do so with a face mask.

  • Make sure to follow all instructions provided by the doctor.

Taking the case of tuberculosis with levity is really dangerous as it can cause problem with the cardiovascular system, metabolic function among several other issues.

Conclusion.

The good part about tuberculosis is that, it is treatable but it is best to start treatment as soon as you find out about the infection. The moment you realize you fall among the category of people who stand a high chance of developing the bacteria, you should instantly visit a doctor for a test.

References.

https://www.healthline.com/health/tuberculosis#takeaway

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tuberculosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351250

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325526

https://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-tuberculosis-basics

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tuberculosis-tb/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/tuberculosis/guide/

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis



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Tuberculosis when not properly treated can lead to death

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Thanks for taking time to read, active tuberculosis not treated appropriately could lead to complications that will lead to death.

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