Tuberculosis is one of the most infectious diseases that directly attacks one’s throat or lungs. It can easily pass from one person to another and affects millions of people every year. If not treated timely, the disease can prove to be fatal and lead to other complications.
*10 million people got diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2018 and out of them, 1.5 million succumbed to it*
Understanding that tuberculosis is a serious problem prevalent today, World Health Organisation dedicated 24th March as “World Tuberculosis Day” in 1882. That’s when the tuberculosis-causing bacteria was discovered. Every year, a theme surrounding this disease is designed to increase awareness and put the best efforts forward to bring it to an end.
World Tuberculosis Day Theme For 2023
World Tuberculosis Day 2023’s theme has been decided as “Yes, we can end TB”. The aim of this theme is to inspire leadership citizens to be courageous and hopeful in putting this disease to an end. It is aiming to increase investment, adopt the latest innovative methods, increase the speed of action, adopt recommendations laid out by WHO, and collaborate with different sectors to fight the problem.
This year’s main focus would be on the countries to encourage them to speed up their progress. World Health Organisation is also going to issue a call-to-action for Member States to ramp up the rollout of oral treatments.
WHO has a mission to end TB by 2030 and for that, it is continuously working with various organizations to simplify access to TB diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Causes of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is caused when a person sneezes or coughs. If your illness isn’t going away after weeks, it can be a possible sign of TB. Here are the causes of Tuberculosis –
TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (a bacteria). It is spread when tiny droplets of bacteria move through the air. So, if someone breathes that contaminated air, he/she can catch the disease. Since the TB-causing bacteria doesn’t live on any surface, it is usually caused due to:
- Use of a public toilet
- Sharing utensils
- Shaking hands with an infected person
If you spend more time indoors with people, the chances of getting infected increase. Tuberculosis is more prone in crowded rooms.
Those who have a weak immune system are more prone to TB. If someone is suffering from AIDS or HIV, his/her immune system can be overwhelmed by tuberculosis and they are at the highest end of the risk.
Symptoms Of Tuberculosis
Once the germs of TB begin to multiply in your lungs, they cause an infection. This usually occurs in three stages and the symptoms in every stage vary. Here are the symptoms explained based on these stages –
- Primary Infection: This is the first stage of TB where the immune system finds the germs and captures them. Sometimes immunity can destroy the germ but there might be a few germs left behind which can multiply. There are not many symptoms observed at this stage but some people may suffer from cough, low-grade fever, and tiredness.
- Latent Infection: This is the 2nd stage where the immune system builds a wall around the lung tissue. There are TB germs present inside and the wall ensures that the germs cannot travel anywhere else. This stage doesn’t cause any visible symptoms.
- Active Disease: This is the final stage of TB where the immune system fails to control the problem. Germs spread the disease around the lungs and other body parts. The symptoms start slowly but get worse with time. They include –
- Chest pain
- Cough with mucus or blood
- Night sweats
- Painful breathing
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
The infection is detected after your doctor conducts an examination. He would –
- Check to see for swollen lymph nodes
- Listen to your breathing
If he thinks that you might be suffering from tuberculosis, he would conduct the desired tests.
Treatment Of Tuberculosis
The exact treatment of tuberculosis depends on the stage of the illness. In case of latent infection, the doctor would begin treatment with drugs. Most latent infections take about three to four months for complete healing.
In case of active infection, the doctor would determine which drugs would be ideal for you. This stage takes around four to nine months to complete the treatment.
Remember that it is important to schedule regular appointments with your doctor to check whether your health is improving or not. There might be some side effects to the drugs (not always) so you need to consult your doctor immediately in that case.
Today, tuberculosis is prevalent in every country and among every age group. It is preventable and treatable with the right courses of action. So, everyone needs to be aware of the problem and its preventive measures.