What is the full form of TB?
TB stands for Tuberculosis. It is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is an aerobic bacteria that grows slowly and can grow within body cells. It mostly affects the lungs of a person. TB is curable, however, if proper treatment is not being taken by the patient, it may cause death.
It is a highly contagious disease as it spreads from person to person. For example, when a TB patient sneezes or coughs, the TB germs are released into the air. When a healthy person inhales these germs he or she gets infected. It is diagnosed by a skin test which if comes positive is followed by an X-ray of the chest that is done to find out the status of the infection.
Types of TB
There are two major types of TB:
Latent TB: In this type of TB, the infected person has germs in their body but they are not ill and don't transmit disease. Also, they don't show symptoms of TB. Around 1/3 population of the world is infected with latent TB which means although they are infected, they are not ill yet and cannot transmit the disease. People who have a weak immune system, suffering from malnutrition or other diseases like diabetes or using tobacco are at a higher risk of getting infected with TB or to progress from latent to active TB.
Active TB: This is the severe type of TB in which the germs multiply and cause illness and symptoms of TB. A person with active TB can spread TB to other healthy persons.
Some of the common symptoms of TB are as follows:
Treatment of TB:
The treatment of TB is a lengthy process in which the patient is required to take medication regularly without any gap. For the cure of TB, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced a plan to control TB. This plan is known as 'Directly observed treatment, short course' (DOTS). As per this strategy, a nurse or any other health care worker prescribes the TB drugs to patients and makes sure the patient takes medicine regularly and complete the course.
A TB patient may take the following precautions to prevent the spread of TB: