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Understanding Tuberculosis

Updated: Apr 24, 2019


Tuberculosis, abbreviated as TB, is an infectious disease caused by a pathogenic bacterium called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It generally affects the lungs in human but can also impact other parts of the body in people with the relatively weaker immune system. Most tuberculosis infections do not present any symptoms and are regarded as latent tuberculosis. 10% of all latent tuberculosis develop into active tuberculosis that, if left untreated, becomes potentially fatal. Tuberculosis is transmitted through the air by an infected person via tiny droplets released while coughing and sneezing. Tuberculosis symptoms include a persistent cough, blood-stained sputum, weight loss, night sweats and chest pain.


Smokers, diabetics, malnourished and HIV positive people are most likely to contract tuberculosis. It is detected through a chest x-ray and relevant blood tests to confirm the presence of the bacterium. BCG vaccine administered to infants has proven highly effective in reducing the chances of getting a TB infection by 20% and preventing the development of a latent TB into an active one by 60%. With advancement in medical sciences, TB treatment has been made successful through effective antibiotic medications that have saved over 49 million lives across the planet from 2000 to 2015. World Tuberculosis Day, observed on March 24 annually, is one of the eight official global public health campaigns led by WHO to raise awareness amongst people concerning the causes, prevention and aftermath of a tuberculosis infection. Let’s stand united for a TB-free world.

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