Overview of Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infection that usually attacks your lungs. It can also spread to other parts of your body, like your brain and spine. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it.

Here Are some basic details about Tuberculosis (TB)

Pathogen of Tuberculosis (TB) : A bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis).

Mode of Transmission 
of Tuberculosis (TB) : airborne-discharged through sputum, cough, sneeze, etc. of the infected person.

Incubation period 
of Tuberculosis (TB): 2-10 weeks during which the bacteria produce a toxin, tuberculin.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis (TB)
(i) Persistent fever and coughing.

(ii) Chest pain and blood comes out with the sputum.

(iii) General weakness.

Causes of Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that spread through the air, just like a cold or the flu. You can get TB only if you come into contact with people who have it.

Prevention and Cure for Tuberculosis (TB)

(i) Isolation of patient to avoid spread of infection.

(ii) BCG vaccination is given to children as a preventive measure.

(iii) Living rooms should be airy, neat and with clean sorroundings.

(iv) Antibiotics be administered as treatment.

Tests and Diagnosis of Tuberculosis (TB)

There are two common tests for tuberculosis:
Skin test. This is also known as the Mantoux tuberculin skin test. A technician injects a small amount of fluid into the skin of your lower arm. After 2 or 3 days, they’ll check for swelling in your arm. If your results are positive, you probably have Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria. But you could also get a false positive. If you’ve gotten a 
Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine called bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), the test could say that you have Tuberculosis (TB) when you really don’t. The results can also be false negative, saying that you don’t have Tuberculosis (TB) when you really do, if you have a very new infection. You might get this test more than once.
Blood test. These tests, also called interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs), measure the response when 
Tuberculosis (TB) proteins are mixed with a small amount of your blood.

Those tests don’t tell you if your infection is latent or active. If you get a positive skin or blood test, your doctor will learn which type you have with:
A chest X-ray or CT scan to look for changes in your lungs
Acid-fast bacillus (AFB) tests for TB bacteria in your sputum, the mucus that comes up when you cough

Medication Side Effects of Tuberculosis (TB )

Like any medication, Tuberculosis (TB) drugs can have side effects.
Common isoniazid side effects include:

  1. Numbness and tingling in your hands and feet
  2. Upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Weakness

Ethambutol side effects may include:

  1. Chills
  2. Painful or swollen joints
  3. Belly pain, nausea, and vomiting
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Headache
  6. Confusion

Tuberculosis (TB) Vaccine

Children in countries where Tuberculosis (TB) is common often get the BCG vaccine. It isn’t widely used in the United States, and it doesn’t always protect against infection. Doctors recommend it only for children living with someone who has an active TB infection with a very drug-resistant strain or who can’t take antibiotics.
Other vaccines are being developed and tested.

Some general questions asked about Tuberculosis (TB)

1. How long can you live with tuberculosis?
The duration of 
Tuberculosis (TB) from onset to cure or death is approximately 3 years and appears to be similar for smear-positive and smear-negative Tuberculosis (TB).

2. Does Tuberculosis (TB) go away on its own?
Tuberculosis (TB) frequently goes away by itself, but in more than half of cases, the disease can return.

3. What happens if I test positive for TB?

A “positive” TB blood test result means you probably have TB germs in your body. Most people with a positive TB blood test have latent TB infection. To be sure, your doctor will examine you and do a chest x-ray. You may need other tests to see if you have latent TB infection or active TB disease.


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Author: Hi there, my name is Subin Joshua, and I am a Medical student. I grew up in a family of teachers and know that being a social worker is my calling. My passion for helping others has been evident in my involvement in helping the poor and needy for the last three years. Through those experiences, I have learned to interact with a diverse group of people, which has increased my ability to relate to others.