Facts about TB infection
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by the Koch bacillus, also known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it primarily affects the lungs and it is contagious, healthy persons receiving the infection if living or working in the same place with the infected person. By coughing, shouting or sneezing, the infected person spreads the germs into the air, and others inhale them. Shaking hands or touching clothes does not infect others.
Besides the lungs, TB can also affect lymph nodes, intestinal tract, kidneys, bones, and brain.
The easiest persons to infect are the children and those who have a weakened immune system.
Some of the TB symptoms are: coughing for a long period of time, lose of weight and appetite, night sweats, fever and chest pains.
In 1993, the World Health Organization declared TB a global emergency, due to its high rate of transmission, every year 8 million people getting infected by it. Health authorities are concerned that if TB is left unchecked, it will kill 35 million people in the world in the next 20 years.
A person can become infected with tuberculosis bacteria when he or she inhales minute particles of infected sputum from the air. The bacterium gets into the air when someone who has TB coughs, sneezes, shouts, or spits (which is common in some cultures). People who are nearby can then possibly breathe the bacteria into their lungs and get infected.
There is a form of tuberculosis, which is transmitted by drinking unpasteurized milk. The responsible bacterium for this form of TB infection is called Mycobacterium bovis. Years before, this bacterium was a major cause of TB in children, but it rarely causes TB now since most milk is pasteurized (a heating process that kills the bacteria).
Another way to get TB, but a rare one is the skin way. People who work in laboratories and handle the TB germs can get infected if they have a skin lesion that gets in contact with the germ. Others may get TB when getting a tattoo done with instruments that have not been sterilized.
Treating TB nowadays is made with multiple drugs, and it takes longer then 6 months to cure this illness. Some of the used drugs are: isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol, in different combinations.
Generally if the treatment is followed all the way, a person can heal without problems, and reintegrate within the society in about 6 to 9 months.
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