There are cases of tuberculosis (TB) in every nation on earth. It ranks among the world’s most common infectious causes of death. The bacteria that cause TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb), affects around 1.6 billion people, or about one-fourth of the world’s population. However, deaths caused by tuberculosis depend upon the severity of the tubercular infection. This article discusses how it spreads, whether tuberculosis kills always, when it becomes a life-threatening condition, and its treatment.
How is tuberculosis transmitted?
Tuberculosis is primarily an airborne infection. When a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or speaks, the TB infective germs release into the air. Depending on the environment, these germs can linger in the air for a number of hours. Latent TB infection (LTBI) is a condition that can affect people who breathe in air contaminated with these TB germs.
LTBI sufferers are asymptomatic and unable to transmit TB germs to others. However, LTBI can progress to TB disease if latent TB germs multiply and become active in the body. People with LTBI should be treated in order to prevent them from contracting TB disease for this reason. People who have a latent TB infection frequently show signs of the disease
When does a tuberculosis infection become fatal?
Tuberculosis does not always kill. However, active TB germs or the germs that are multiplying and destroying body tissue cause severe TB in patients. They typically show signs of TB disease. People with TB disease in their lungs or throat have the potential to spread the disease to others. People who are HIV-positive, diabetic, smokers, underweight, and recently came into contact with TB patients are at a higher risk of developing active TB symptoms.
In addition to the lungs, TB can also harm other organs such as the brain, kidneys, and spine. Individuals with active symptoms should take anti-tuberculosis medications under the supervision of a doctor and their prescription. Doctors prescribe these medicines on the basis of the infection’s severity. Besides that, delaying treatment for TB increases the risk of death.
When should tuberculosis patients start receiving treatment?
Always remember to seek medical attention if you test positive for tuberculosis and have symptoms like a blood-stained cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss, etc. for more than 10 to 15 days along with positive blood and imaging test.
Doctors administer prescribed anti-tuberculosis medicines for six to twelve months. It is crucial that people with TB disease take their medications to completion and follow the directions on the label. If they quit consuming the medications too soon, they run the risk of becoming ill again, and if they don’t take them correctly, any pathogens that are still present may become resistant to them. Please be aware that drug-resistant TB is more difficult to treat and more expensive. In some cases, local health department staff regularly meet with TB patients to observe how they take their medications. This practice is referred to as directly observed therapy (DOT). The patient receives the quickest possible treatment completion thanks to DOT.
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