TB shortened for tuberculosis is a multi systemic highly contagious disease. It usually affects the lungs of a person but, can affect other organs of the body. Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Most TB infections do not show symptoms and such cases are referred to as latent tuberculosis. This latent tuberculosis if left untreated can transform into a serious disease and usually leads to the death of nearly 10% of people affected with it. TB is a pretty severe disease and is counted as the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent.
Tuberculosis currently affects one third of the world population and nearly 70% of TB cases are found among 15 to 54 years age group. Although the disease is found globally, countries like India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa have a high concentration of it. There is an effective TB vaccination given to small children and adults, to protect from this lethal disease.
One of the prime causes of TB is exposure to the highly infectious bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is highly contagious and is spread person to person through the air i.e. when an infected person coughs or sneezes or even talks the bacteria is released in the environment causing to other individuals present in the same room and as such TB requires isolation of the Tb patient to prevent further spread of the disease.
People affected with HIV are highly susceptible to TB infection; other risk factors of TB infection are diabetes, end stage kidney disease, malnourishment and certain cancers.
There are several types of TB showing varied symptoms depending upon its area of infection. However, there are two main classifications of Tuberculosis namely latent tuberculosis and active tuberculosis. Latent TB do not show any TB symptoms, neither are they contagious but, they can turn active at any point. Active TB is extremely contagious and showcases tuberculosis symptoms. The most common active TB symptoms are as follows;
A doctor can ask for several TB tests to confirm the diagnosis of TB like skin tests, blood tests and chest X – rays. People suspected of having latent TB are given skin TB test to confirm the presence of the bacteria but, then again this TB test has its own limitation and often gives false negative results.
There is cure available for TB and an effective TB treatment plan. Effective TB treatment although difficult owing to its complex structure and chemical composition is possible by means of antibiotic TB treatment that kills the bacteria.
Latent tuberculosis treatment involves the use of a single antibiotic, while active tuberculosis treatment involves the use of a combination of antibiotics to prevent the bacteria from developing anti biotic resistance, since multi drug resistant TB or MDR Tb is more difficult treat.
TB vaccination is the best approach towards tuberculosis, as prevention is always better than cure. There is a commercially available TB vaccine named BCG or Bacillus Calmette – Guerin vaccine. This TB vaccine is primarily administered to children to prevent them from the deadly tuberculosis disease. The BCG tuberculosis vaccine has an efficacy rate of 20% from protection against the infection and 60% in preventing the infection from turning into an active disease. The BCG TB vaccine for children is typically given at birth in India.
is the best approach towards tuberculosis, as prevention is always better than cure. There is a commercially available TB vaccine named BCG or Bacillus Calmette – Guerin vaccine. This TB vaccine is primarily administered to children to prevent them from the deadly tuberculosis disease. The BCG tuberculosis vaccine has an efficacy rate of 20% from protection against the infection and 60% in preventing the infection from turning into an active disease. The BCG TB vaccine for children is typically given at birth in India.
The BCG tuberculosis vaccine is used worldwide and the immunity it provides starts to wane off after ten years. Besides the BCG TB vaccine, there are several other tuberculosis vaccines currently under development, since the BCG tuberculosis vaccine is not completely suited for adult use. In fact India has developed a new TB vaccine for adults called VPM 1002, which is based on the BCG tuberculosis vaccine but, is currently under trial and would soon be available for public use.