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Tuberculosis is a specific infectious disease caused by the TB bacillus. The disease primarily affects the lungs. It can however cause disease in any organ of the body. The disease has a slow onset and is a chronic testing one if untreated. South East Asia has the highest number of TB cases in the whole world. TB continues to be a major public health problem in India. The overall prevalence of infection is about 30% compared to 2-3% in developed countries.

The human source of infection is the commonest, with sputum positive for TB bacillus, and from those who have either received no treatment or not fully treated. The incubation period from receipt of infection to the development of positive Mantoux test ranges from 3-6 weeks. It is spread by air borne droplets containing bacteria from an infected person with cough.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. It can also affect the central nervous system , lymphatic system , circulatory system , genitourinary system , bones and joints. It is usually infects the lungs, although other organs and parts of the body can be involved as well. Nine million new cases of TB, and nearly two million deaths from TB, are estimated to occur around the world every year. TB is a chronic bacterial infection. The risk of developing active disease is greatest in the first year after infection, but active disease often does not occur until many years later. There were 3 cases of multidrug resistant tuberculosis in the Commonwealth (resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampin).  TB spreads through airborne droplets when a person with the infection coughs, talks or sneezes. It is important to understand that there is a difference between being infected with TB and having TB disease. Someone who is infected with TB has the TB germs, or bacteria, in their body. A person with TB disease needs to see a doctor as soon as possible. This is referred to as active TBII.

The rise in HIV infection levels and the neglect of TB control programs have caused a resurgence of tuberculosis, and drug-resistant strains of TB are also emerging. TB has plagued human beings for millennia. Signs of tubercular damage have been found in Egyptian mummies and in bones dating back at least 5,000 years. Most people who become infected do not develop TB disease because their body's defenses protect them. Most active cases of TB disease result from activating old infection in people with impaired immune systems. TB is an increasing and major world wide problem, especially in Africa where the spread has been facilitated by AIDS. TB in the lungs is easily spread to other people through coughing or laughing. Minorities are affected disproportionately by TB, which occurs among foreign-born individuals nearly nine times as frequently as among people born in the United States. Treatment is often successful, though the process is long. Treatment time averages between 6 and 9 months. The bacteria infect mainly other individuals who have frequent and prolonged contact with a contagious TB case.

Causes of Tuberculosis

The comman causes of Tuberculosis include the following:

  • Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis , slow-growing bacteria that thrive in areas of the body that are rich in blood and oxygen, such as the lungs.
  • Foreign-born people from countries with high TB rates.
  • When the bacteria cause clinically detectable disease, you have TB.
  • Diseases that weaken the immune system.
  • Migration from a country with a high number of cases.
  • In countries where unpasterised milk is drunk TB may be transmitted in infected milk from cows with Bovine Tuberculosis.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

Some sign and symptoms related to Tuberculosis are as follows:

  • A cough lasting three or more weeks that may produce discolored or bloody sputum.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Pain with breathing or coughing (pleurisy).
  • Night sweats.
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness.
  • A swollen neck (when lymph nodes in the neck are infected).
  • Tiredness without reason.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Weight loss.
  • Shortness of breath and chest pain (in rare cases).
  • Tingling or burning feeling in your hands or feet.

Treatment of Tuberculosis

Here is list of the methods for treating Tuberculosis:

  • Doctors generally use a combination of 4 antibiotics to treat active TB, whether it occurs in the lungs or elsewhere.
  • Your relatives and friends may need to undergo appropriate skin tests and chest x-rays.
  • If a doctor decides a person should receive preventive therapy, the usual prescription is a daily dose of isoniazid (also called "INH"); an inexpensive TB medicine.
  • Doctors use multiple drugs to reduce the likelihood of resistant organisms emerging.
  • Tuberculosis vaccine, known as bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may prevent the spread of tuberculosis and tuberculous meningitis in children.
  • One antibiotic taken for 9 months is the usual treatment for latent TB. This prevents the infection from becoming active and reduces the risk of complications.
  • Surgery is usually not needed, but it may be used when a person has a particularly drug resistant infection or to drain infection from the lungs.