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World TB Day 2021: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of the Ailment

This infectious disease is responsible for the loss of around 4000 lives per day on average. (Image by Shutterstock/ Representational)

This infectious disease is responsible for the loss of around 4000 lives per day on average. (Image by Shutterstock/ Representational)

Despite the fact that TB is a curable and preventable disease, millions of people fall victim to it and perish, annually.

March 24 every year is observed as the World Tuberculosis Day to raise awareness and eradicate the deadly ailment, globally. Described as ‘epidemic’ by WHO, TB is a disease whose bacteria was discovered by Dr Robert Koch in 1882. Despite the fact that TB is a curable and preventable disease, millions of people fall victim to it and perish, annually.

The endeavor has been to globally terminate this infectious disease that is responsible for the loss of around 4000 lives per day on average. The theme of this year’s World TB day is ‘The Clock is Ticking’, which goes on to harp on the need to act quickly and efficiently to tackle the disease, more so on the wake of the pandemic COVID-19.

On this special day dedicated to ensure a TB-free world, let’s take a look at some of the pertinent information that might help the endeavour to progress a step ahead.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis:

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One must be careful as active TB is known to be contagious.

Check out for the following symptoms and consult doctor, immediately:

1. If someone has been experiencing a pretty bad cough for more than 3 weeks, do see the doctor.

2. Look for symptoms such as chest pain.

3. Be careful to observe the cough. See if there is blood or sputum in the cough.

4. Fever is another sign that must be taken into account.

5. Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, do check for loss of appetite,

6. Feeling exhaustion or fatigue

7. Experiencing sudden sweating during the night time.

Causes of Tuberculosis:

TB is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus. This bacteria responsible for tuberculosis has been found to affect the lungs, mainly. However, it can affect any organ of the body. The ailment can develop when bacteria spread through droplets in the air.

If a person infected with active TB ailment in their lungs happens to cough or sneeze in close proximity of someone who will be in a position to inhale the expelled droplets, TB can easily affect the other person too.

Treatment and prevention of Tuberculosis:

Follow these treatment and preventive measures to protect yourself from TB:

  1. Medication is the basic premise of TB treatment.
  2. Get children vaccinated with BCG. It has been found to be an effective way to protect one from the bout of TB.
  3. Those who have latent tuberculosis, may need to take only one or two types of TB drug.
  4. But for the active tuberculosis, if it’s a drug-resistant strain, then it will need many administration of drugs at once.
  5. For drug-resistant TB patients, a combination of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones and injectable medications are used for treatment of tuberculosis.
  6. Most importantly, you shouldn’t stop the treatment, once initiated. An initiative named directly observed therapy (DOT) is recommended to help people continue with their treatment. A health care worker ensures that medication is taken at the proper time and helps you stay on track with the treatment procedures.

Also, wear a mask and use a respirator while in the presence of a TB patient.  Cover your mouth and nose while a TB patient coughs or sneezes.

first published:March 24, 2021, 10:53 IST