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What do you know about tb (tuberculosis)?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. While it primarily affects the lungs, it can also impact other organs such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes ill, but it’s essential to understand the symptoms, causes, and risk factors associated with this condition.

Here are some key points about TB:

  1. Symptoms:

  • Primary TB Infection: During the initial stage, most people don’t exhibit symptoms. However, some may experience flu-like symptoms, including low fever, tiredness, and cough.

  • Latent TB Infection: Following the primary infection, the immune system walls off the TB germs in lung tissue. There are no symptoms during this stage.

  • Active TB Disease: When the immune system fails to control the infection, active TB disease occurs. Symptoms include cough, coughing up blood or mucus, chest pain, fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss, and fatigue. Active TB can also affect other parts of the body (extrapulmonary TB).

  1. Causes and Transmission:

  • TB spreads through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or sings, releasing tiny droplets containing TB germs. People with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV/AIDS) are at higher risk.

  • The bacteria thrive in areas rich in blood and oxygen, such as the lungs.

  1. Diagnosis:

  • Skin tests (tuberculin skin test) and blood tests (interferon gamma release assay) help confirm TB presence.

  • CT scans and sputum culture tests aid in diagnosis.

  1. Treatment:

  • Antibiotics are used to treat TB. A combination of therapies is often required for several months.

  • Multi-drug resistant TB is more challenging to treat.

  1. Prevention:

  • The BCG vaccine helps prevent TB, especially in children.

  • Hygiene practices, avoiding large gatherings, and proper ventilation contribute to prevention.

Remember that early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for controlling the spread of TB. If you suspect TB symptoms, seek medical attention promptly!

Check out this TB story at the link below to see how TB can go undiagnosed and what the treatment/recovery times is like.

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