Basic Facts on Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it is an air borne disease. This infectious disease spreads through air from one person to another person. At present, India is home to around 26% of the world TB patients – 1 in 4 globally. Over 9.3 lakh people are currently going undetected.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) TB report, India saw 2.7 lakh deaths caused by TB in 2012. With growing number of infections and death, people should be aware of the impact, signs and symptoms, treatment and diagnosis of TB.

How TB infects a person?

A person is infected with TB when they come in close contact with another person having active tuberculosis. The bacteria remains active in air for several hours. When you are exposed to the person with TB, for a long time, there are chances of getting infected. In most cases, it happens when a TB patient is a member of your family or co-workers.

Which part of the body TB attacks?

TB bacteria mainly attacks lungs, throat and can also attack other parts of body such as kidney, lymph nodes, bones, joints, spine and brain.

Two TB related conditions
Not every person infected with TB will feel sick and they do not show any symptoms. There are two TB related conditions that one can notice:

  • Latent TB infection
  • TB disease

Latent TB infection: People who inhale the air containing TB bacteria have chances of being infected, but they don’t get sick. Because the immune system in the body prevents bacteria from growing. As bacteria are not active, you will not fall sick and don’t show any symptoms.

A person with latent TB infection is not infectious and cannot spread the disease to others. However, they may develop TB disease in future – if the immune system is weak. It is advisable to undergo treatment the disease from worsening. Take medication to beat TB.

TB disease/ Active disease: If the immune system of the person is not able to stop the bacteria from growing, TB bacteria is in active state and they start multiplying and destroying tissues in the body. And the person feels sick and shows symptoms of TB disease.

If proper medication is not taken the complication of untreated active TB can prone dangerous.

What are the symptoms of TB?

As symptoms of TB start gradually, it is not suspected in the early state or is first diagnosed as another illness unless clinically not examined. General symptoms of TB are bad cough, feeling tired, weight loss, difficulty in breathing, loss of appetite, fever, night sweats, chest pain, coughing up blood, fatigue and joint pains.

If you have these symptoms, make sure to see doctor, and undergo clinical examine.

You may also like to read:
How Does Tuberculosis Spread and How to Prevent the Spread?
Tuberculosis (TB) – Diagnosis and Treatment
Taking Medications Correctly is an Important Aspect of Treating TB
Complications of Untreated Active Tuberculosis

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