World Tuberculosis Day – 2013

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  March 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM Health In Focus
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World Tuberculosis Day (WTD), celebrated annually on the 24th of March, is a global attempt at raising awareness on the nature, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the infectious disease - Tuberculosis!
World Tuberculosis Day – 2013
World Tuberculosis Day – 2013

WTD is held to commemorate  the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch identified the causative TB bacterium, which was naturally the first step towards controlling this deadly disease. World Tuberculosis Day was first observed in  1982 to mark the centenary of Dr Koch's life-saving discovery.

On this day various forms of events and activities take place to promote the causes that strive to make the world TB - free. These events are supported  by the  World Health Organization (WHO), governments and various other global health bodies.

According to WHO estimates  South-East Asia reported the highest numbers of new TB cases and also  accounts for 34% of the world TB cases.  However, the  incidence rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be nearly twice as much as  that of South-East Asia.

Tuberculosis ( TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is transmitted when the bacteria contained in  droplets of fluid that fall out  while coughing, sneezing or spitting by an infected person disperse through air and is inhaled by  healthy individuals .

The theme for this year is "extra pulmonary tuberculosis." Although TB mostly affect the lungs, it  is also known to affect other body parts  such as the spinal cord, brain and kidneys. Focusing on extra pulmonary tuberculosis this year  is an attempt  at spreading awareness on TB that affects body parts other than lungs and shedding light on its evasive nature.

A person may have the active or the latent form of tuberculosis. In the active form, the immune system is unable to overpower the ill-effects of the TB bacterium and the person develops full- blown disease. In the latent form, a person might harbor the bacterium but will not develop symptoms of the disease. However, when the immune system is at some point compromised, or becomes weak, the latent bacteria can become active and the person could develop TB.

The symptoms of TB include coughing, chest pain, night sweats, fatigue, loss of appetite and loss of weight. TB can easily be detected through a routine blood or  skin test.

Those at risk of the infection include people who are positive for HIV, those who are immune- compromised and those who have not been properly treated for a previous TB infection.

Administering strong antibiotics are part of the treatment regime for tuberculosis. Latent TB can be treated with isoniacid, rifampin and rifapentine while the active disease needs to be treated additionally with ethambutol and pyrazinamide.

If you have someone afflicted by TB in your home make sure you follow the precautionary measures recommended by your doctor to prevent the disease from spreading to others in the family.

It is important to know about the disease to fight the disease. Remember that all forms of tuberculosis can be cured, if properly treated!

Source: Medindia

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