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Overview of Tuberculosis by Schnikia Pool

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Overview of TB:

TB also known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis can be spread very easily. This disease can attack the kidneys, brain, and even the spine. The most common is the lungs. This bacterium can be spread by just breathing the contaminated air. It can’t be done by kissing, touching, or even eating off the same person. The infected person can sneeze, cough, or speak and you can contract it this way. TB is a very serious illness and it can prove to be fatal if not treated right away. It’s important to know your body and to get tested when symptoms arise. The smallest things can be proven to be the biggest problems. Early detection is the key.

Symptoms of TB:

Symptoms of TB include a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks or longer, fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, night sweats, and fever. The patient can also have pain in the chest and would probably cough up blood or sputum (which is a substance mixed with mucus or pus that comes from the lungs).

TB disease versus latent TB:

There are two types of TB. If the bacterium is inactive it is latent TB. The bacterium lives in your body without making you sick. The patient can breathe in the infected air but the immune system is able to fight off the bacteria and it won’t progress. The patient does not feel sick and doesn’t show any symptoms. The patient does not infect others as long as the patient is treated accordingly.

TB disease is active in the immune system, unlike latent TB. People with TB disease are very sick. They can spread the bacteria to people they see on a regular basis. People can contract TB disease within weeks after becoming infected if their immune system cannot fight off the bacterium. If any symptoms arise, contact your local doctor to be tested.

TB testing:

There are two kinds of tests that can be done to check if you have TB; TB skin tests and the TB blood test. The skin test is given by injecting a serum under the skin. If infected 48 hours later the location will rise and it will be measured by a healthcare provider. Treatment will be given for 6-9 months if the patient is infected.

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Treatment for latent TB can be easily administered. This treatment can be given so that TB disease cannot progress. It is important to be treated for latent TB so that Tb can be controlled and ultimately eliminated.

In patients with TB disease is very important to eliminate TB bacterium completely. This is treated by taking several drugs. The drugs should be taken for 6-9 months. It is important not to stop taking the drugs too soon. The bacterium can become resistant to the drugs and it will make it that much harder to control the disease and eliminate it. This can lead to more expensive treatments and drugs to kill the resistant bacterium. In patients with TB, controlling the infected patients is important and can be the difference between life and death.

CDC. “Basic TB Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.





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