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The medical profession has improved dramatically over the years, to the point that certain health problems are now easily diagnosed and identified in terms of causative agents, populations, and spread mechanisms. This research will therefore concentrate on tuberculosis since it is one of the leading diseases threatening public health worldwide, especially in developed countries. It is a lethal and contagious disease that typically affects the lungs, and the long-term consequences are dangerous. Taking the initiative to investigate the facts about tuberculosis, including its cause, demographics, mode of dissemination, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, is therefore critical. Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. In most cases, it often attacks the lungs, but it can also spread to other body organs since the bacteria is not usually confined to one body section. The bacterium is a slow growing one and has the capability of dividing itself approximately in every 16 to 20 hours. As much as it is one of the deadly diseases being faced worldwide, it is preventable and curable if detected during its early stages before the bacilli disseminate causing more complications in the process.
According to statistics given by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 2 billion people have been exposed to the tuberculosis pathogen since its discovery. For instance according to, in the year 2004, about 14.6 million suffered from tuberculosis with 9 billion of this population presenting new tuberculosis cases. Since then, reports have shown that 8 million suffer from tuberculosis annually worldwide and around 2 million people eventually die from the disease. Comparing the tuberculosis rates in developing countries especially in Africa and developed ones like America, the former has about 365 cases per 100,000 people while the latter has 41 cases per 100,000 persons. It is therefore evident that tuberculosis is a killer disease that needs to be managed.
Mode of Transmission and Spread
As mentioned earlier, tuberculosis is a highly infectious, an indication that it spreads faster in a population that has individuals who are already infected. One of the modes that it is transmitted is through inhaling droplets sprayed into the air either through coughing or sneezing from an individual affected by the M. tuberculosis bacteria. Additionally, it may be acquired through direct invasion of the bacteria into the mucous membranes. If a person is already infected, the disease is transmitted by blood to other body organs eventually weakening one's immune system. Consequently, one’s health is at stake due to the adverse effects of tuberculosis.
Signs and Symptoms
Experiencing chest pains, prolonged coughs and sputum are the significant symptoms presented by persons suffering from tuberculosis. Since the bacterium usually affects the lungs and yet they are the essential organs in the respiratory system, the infection, therefore, disrupts their normal functioning. Additionally, loss of appetite and fatigue are also common symptoms that eventually lead to loss of weight since the infected persons barely feed. Moreover, in critical cases, blood spitting and breathlessness are often experienced.
To control and handle tuberculosis, specific diagnosis techniques approaches have been developed over the recent years. Some of the aspects considered during the diagnosis include the medical history of the patient, physical examination, chest radiograph and bacteriologic exam. The commonly used test for diagnosis is the Mantoux tuberculin test. As discussed by , the approach involves injecting intradermally 0.1 ml of 5TU PPD tuberculin into the bloodstream and examining the maximum diameter of induration through palpation after 48-72 hours. Depending on the medical risk factors of an individual, the size of induration showing diameters of 5mm, 10mm or 15mm indicate positive tuberculosis results.
Treatment and Prognosis
If a person tests positive for tuberculosis, treatment is necessary. The treatment periods may either be short or long. In short treatment spans, an individual ought to take isoniazid, ethambutol, pyrazinamide, and rifampicin for two months and later on rifampicin and isoniazid only for another four months. In cases of latent tuberculosis, isoniazid alone is administered for six to nine months, explains. After the treatment, symptoms may improve in approximately 2 to 3 weeks, but the chest x-ray will only show this improvement much later. However, in cases where tuberculosis is diagnosed at early stages, the outcome after treatment is excellent.
In conclusion, it is evident that tuberculosis is a lethal disease and the health sectors should create this awareness among the public. It is also crucial for people to understand that prevention of tuberculosis is essential and favorable than cure. Health departments should thus focus more on prevention. For the infected, treatment is the most cautious and sure step to take to minimize chances of the disease reaching a critical stage. With proper drug administration, tuberculosis is manageable.
Atkinson, D., & Dering-Anderson, A. (2017). Pharmacy-Based Tuberculosis Skin Testing (TST): Approaches to Legal Authority. INNOVATIONS in pharmacy , 13.
Falzon, D., & Schunemann, H. (2017). World Health Organization treatment guidelines for drug-resistant tuberculosis, 2016 update. European Respiratory Journal , 1602308.
Horsburgh Jr, C., & Barry III, C. (2015). Treatment of tuberculosis. New England Journal of Medicine , 2149-2160.
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