The prevention of Tuberculosis as well as knowing how to recognize the symptoms is important also in countries with low rate of new Tuberculosis cases. In Canada 1600 new cases per year are discovered.
Tuberculosis exists since centuries ago and was called” consumption” as it had no actual cure and people died because of the infection. Tuberculosis can be treated successfully nowadays but many cases of deaths are still present because patients abandon treatment. TBC is a very serious disease that normally affects the lungs’ it can also affect other tissues like the kidneys, bones, lymphatic nodes or brain.
The respiratory Tuberculosis is transmitted and contacted when a patient coughs, sneezes or even talks releasing bacterial fragments into the air. Only spending more hours around the patient with active TBC exposes you to the risk of contacting the disease. One cannot contact Tuberculosis by sitting on toilets, sharing dishes with an ill person or shaking hands.
People with a healthy immune system do not develop the primer infection as the immune cells kill the bacteria. If they are not killed bacteria remain inactive inside the body and name the primo infection with Tuberculin bacteria. The focus can activate when the immune system is weakened.
The risk of getting the Tuberculin disease is higher in the first two years if the bacteria continue to multiply. Only about 10% of the infected persons get Tuberculosis but in case of HIV infection the risk highly increases.
The following categories of people are more exposed to Tuberculosis:
1. Persons living in Tuberculin exposed communities
2. Persons that travel in countries with more cases of Tuberculosis
3. Homeless people or those living in misery or a larger number of persons in one room.
4. Workers in the health department are also highly susceptible.
Weakened immune systems increase the risk of contact. Small children, babies, drug/alcohol addicts, skinny persons, HIV+, people with diabetes, cancer, kidney problems and those with transplanted organs.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis are massive coughs more than 3 months, sputum with blood release, chest pains, anorexia, and tiredness, loss of weight, fever and sweating during the night.
If you are suspected of Tuberculosis, a small quantity of PPD is injected under your skin for testing. In 72hours an inflamed induration appears on the skin surface if you’re positive. In case of positive infection further investigations like chest X-ray are necessary to exclude Tuberculosis disease. Also an antibiotic treatment can prevent the development of the disease especially if you have other determinant factors or are exposed to contact with ill persons.
All cases of Tuberculosis require an at least 6 months treatment with antibiotics as the risk of cronicisation or giving the disease to others is higher. The health care providers must perform regular testing for Tuberculosis and treat positive cases as soon a possible.