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Tackling Tuberculosis in India: Understanding the Silent Epidemic and Prevention Measures

Pathkind Team 1550 Views
Updated: 12 Oct 2023
Published: 07 Jul 2023
Symptoms of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, most commonly affects the lungs. TB is transferred from person to person via droplets from the mouth and nose. Tuberculosis, is widely classified into two types: pulmonary tuberculosis (which causes lung infections) and extrapulmonary tuberculosis (which causes lung infections with infections in other organs).

While more than 26% of the global TB cases are from India, more than 40% of the population in India carries TB bacteria but may not suffer from TB disease, making it a silent epidemic. What causes TB infection to turn into TB disease is low immunity.

Patients with other diseases like HIV, diabetes, etc. that lead to low immunity have a higher chance of contracting TB. The most common cause of death in HIV patients is tuberculosis.

The Prime Minister announced a plan to eliminate tuberculosis in India by 2025. Under the Pradhan Mantri Tuberculosis (TB) Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan, the government provides additional patient support, augments community involvement, and leverages corporate social responsibility.

Common Tuberculosis Tests and Diagnosis

  1. Skin Test:- The skin test is also called the Mantoux tuberculin skin test. While conducting the test, inject a small amount of fluid into the skin of your lower arm. After two or three days, the arm will be checked for swelling. If the test is positive, there is a probability that your system contains TB bacteria. Though there are chances of a false positive in the skin test. If you have been injected with a tuberculosis vaccine called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), it might produce a false positive result.

  2. Blood Test:- The interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) measure the response when TB proteins are mixed with a small amount of your blood.

Tuberculosis Symptoms and Treatment

You might not show any signs if you have tuberculosis. This is why pathogenic microorganisms can live in your body without making you sick. In fact, the majority of TB patients are able to combat the infection before it spreads. This infection is referred to by doctors as "latent TB."

The symptoms of tuberculosis might include weight loss, chest pain, and tiredness. Night sweats, fever, and loss of appetite have been seen in the patients. Some patients also notice a persistent cough with sputum and blood in the sputum.

Active tuberculosis cure is the combination of antibiotics for a prolonged period to reduce the risk of resistance.

You have a drug-resistant strain of TB if it does not react to the common drugs used to treat it. This means that a cocktail of second-line medications, which might be less effective, will be used to treat you. Some medications must be taken for a longer period of time.

Like any other medication, tuberculosis medication can cause some side effects. The side effects of the medication can include numbness and tingling, an upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting. Lack of appetite and weakness are also seen as side effects.

A tuberculosis vaccine called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is given in countries where TB is common. Doctors recommend it only for children living with someone who has active tuberculosis of a drug-resistant strain and is unable to take antibiotics.

How is tuberculosis spread?

Tuberculosis Transmission

When the disease is present in the lungs, a person can transmit it through the air. The term "active" refers to the TB bacteria growing and spreading within your body. You can catch it if you're in close proximity to someone who already has it. Therefore, until they are no longer contagious, doctors advise people with active TB disease to confine themselves to their homes and avoid contact with others as much as possible.

How do you stop the spread of tuberculosis?

If you suffer from tuberculosis, you need to get treated right away. The tuberculosis cure might include taking prescribed medication for six to twelve months.

Here are some tips to keep in mind until your doctor clears you as non-contagious:

  1. Take all the medications as prescribed until your doctor takes you off them.
  2. Keep all your doctor's appointments.
  3. Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing.
  4. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  5. Do not visit other people or accept visits from other people.
  6. Stay home, away from work, school, and public places.
  7. Use a fan and open windows for proper ventilation.
  8. Do not use public transportation.

Let us strive to make the silent epidemic not so silent! Get tested to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Book your test with Pathkind Labs today!

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