Tuberculosis – Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention | World Tuberculosis Day

World Tuberculosis Day is celebrated worldwide on 24th March. The day is a global call to raise awareness about Tuberculosis (TB) being the number one infectious cause of death. It is a preventable disease with 100% cure rates. However, diagnostic delay and improper treatment can contribute to the severity of the condition.

According to the WHO TB report 2021, India ranks the highest in TB patients. 10 million people fell ill with TB worldwide; 5.6 million were men, 3.3 million were women, and 1.1 million were children.

TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Over 66 million patients have been cured globally since 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has reversed the progress. For the first time in a decade, TB deaths saw a rise in 2020.

The theme for World Tuberculosis Day 2022 is “Invest To End TB. Save Lives”. The theme focuses on the urgent need to invest in resources to fight against TB. It is developed keeping in mind the risk of viral Covid-19 added with Tuberculosis to put an end to people at risk.

To commemorate World Tuberculosis Day, let’s deep dive into what Tuberculosis is, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and cure.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body. TB is a communicable disease spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. One is susceptible to TB if they have a weak immune system.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis symptoms depend on the fact in which body part infection is growing. The bacteria generally attacks the lungs. Symptoms of Pulmonary TB include:

  • Coughs pertaining 2 weeks
  • Pain in the chest
  • Bleeding while coughing

Other less serious symptoms include:

  • Weakness & fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Fever
  • Night sweating

Patients with latent TB do not have any severe symptoms and do not feel sick.

Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

The most common diagnostic technique for TB is with blood tests. A substance called tuberculin is injected into the forearm. Within 48 to 72 hours, the forearm is observed for any swelling. A swelled-up red bump signifies that the person likely suffering from TB.

The most commonly used diagnostic tool for tuberculosis is a skin test, though blood tests are becoming more commonplace. A small amount of a substance called tuberculin is injected just below the skin on the inside of your forearm. You should feel only a slight needle prick.

Within 48 to 72 hours, a health care professional will check your arm for swelling at the injection site. A hard, raised red bump means you’re likely to have a TB infection. The size of the bump determines whether the test results are significant.

The general doctor will suggest a TB specialist or pulmonologist in case of a positive test. Pulmonary TB is detected with a chest X-ray to look for changes in the lung appearance. Samples of phlegm are also tested to detect the TB bacteria. Extrapulmonary TB (TB bacteria affecting organs other than lungs) is detected using multiple methods:-

  • CT, MRI, or an ultrasound scan is done
  • an endoscopy or laparoscopy is done
  • a biopsy is also suggested

How to Prevent the Spread of Tuberculosis

Once the first signs of Tuberculosis start to appear, you will be contagious up to about 2 to 3 weeks into the course of treatment. The spread of bacteria is through bodily droplets, so it is essential to stay isolated. Other than staying isolated, one must follow other precautionary steps as well.

  • Like open windows to ensure a good supply of oxygen and fresh air. It helps the lungs breathe better.
  • Never share a room with others as there are high chances of bacterial transmission.
  • Always take the entire course of tuberculosis treatment. Incomplete or improper treatment can lead to severe complications in the body.

Tuberculosis can be a scary disease, but the treatment is 100% available. It is highly curable, with 90% recovering cases. Intervening at the right with correct treatment can drastically change the course of the disease.

On World Tuberculosis Day, let us join hands and eradicate the infectious disease. Our expert pulmonologists at Nirmal Hospital – Multispecialty hospital in Surat can be your helping guide from start to finish. Together we can stand against the disease and emerge victoriously.

If you have any queries regarding Tuberculosis, get connected at Nirmal Hospital. You can also hear experts talk about TB here:-