World Tuberculosis Day 2022: Let’s Spread Awareness
March 24 is recognized as tuberculosis day each year worldwide. The theme of World Tuberculosis Day 2022 is Invest to End TB. Save Lives. Investment in efforts and resources to end TB is very critical now, especially amid the covid-19 since the pandemic has reversed the years of progress made in the fight to end tuberculosis.
To educate and create awareness to the public about the impact of TB around the world, World Tuberculosis Day is observed. It is the second infectious disease and 13th leading cause of death after Covid-19. According to research made in 2020 by WHO, the South-East Asian Region has reported the largest number of new TB cases. Out of which Two-thirds of the new TB cases have been reported in India, China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria and Bangladesh. This research emphasizes the importance of getting the awareness of Tuberculosis.
Not everyone infected gets sick
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. Lungs are mostly affected by this disease, but other body parts such as the kidney, brain and spine also get affected. People who get infected with latent TB do not fall ill. This happens when their immune system effectively fights against bacteria. However, persons infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis have a five to ten percent lifetime risk of falling ill.
When an individual develops active TB disease, the tuberculosis symptoms that may occur are:
- Pain in the chest
- Bad cough (lasting longer than two weeks)
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Tiredness or weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
Let's Discuss Some Frequently Asked Questions About TB:
How Does It Spread? Who Is More At Risk?
When a person with TB in the lungs talks, sneezes, coughs or sings, and if someone inhales the expelled droplets which contain bacteria, they can get infected. This happens when the infected person is in close contact with someone for several hours.
Anyone can get TB disease, but people who are at greater risk include:
- People who are in close contact with infected people for a long time or live in areas with high levels of TB.
- People who have weaker immune systems (resulting from diseases such as HIV, diabetes or from treatments such as chemotherapy). People with HIV infection are eighteen times more prone to develop active Tuberculosis.
- People who have the poor nutritional status
- People who smoke or have an alcohol addiction. Smoking also makes the infection harder to treat and increases the chance of developing an infection after the treatment.
How Is TB Diagnosed?
Two kinds of tests – TB skin test (TST) and TB blood tests are used to detect the TB bacteria in the body. A positive test result indicates the presence of bacteria, but whether a person has an active or inactive TB will be determined by X-rays, CT scans, and tests on sputum and lung fluid.
Is TB Treatable & Curable?
Yes, it is a disease that can be treated and cured. The physician will usually prescribe at least a six-month course of a combination of antibiotic medications if you have active TB in the lungs. People with latent tuberculosis can be prescribed with only one or two types of TB drugs.. The TB medications include isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, rifapentine, and pyrazinamide. The overall health and severity of the TB infection decides the recovery rate.
It is important to take the medications exactly as prescribed by the physician to get better. Skipping or stopping the medication without medical advice may worsen your infection. If left untreated, tuberculosis can be fatal.
Can Tuberculosis Be Prevented?
Always wear a face mask and try not to stay in a space with poor ventilation when it is essential to spend time or take care of a person with active TB. People who work in situations that have a high chance of encountering people with TB, such as health care professionals, should get tested on a routine basis.
The Bottom Line:
If you are at high risk of developing tuberculosis or experience any tuberculosis symptoms, contact your health care professional as soon as possible. As mentioned earlier, if you are being treated for TB, make sure you are sticking strictly to the treatment schedule even if the symptoms go away.