Ana Theresa F. Basilio-Williams
While the De-partment of Health aims to eradicate this very common infectious disease, several people are still suffering from this condition. More so, many are still misled about the transmission of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB).
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by bacteria called Mycobac-terium tuberculosis that grow best in areas of the body that have lots of blood and oxygen. That is why it is most often found in the lungs, called pulmonary TB.
TB is either latent or active. Latent TB means that you have the TB bacteria in your body but your body’s defenses or immune system are keeping it from turning into active TB. This means that you don’t have any symp-toms of TB right now and can’t spread the disease to others. But this can become active TB soon once your immune system is very low or poor.
On the other hand, the active TB has TB bacteria that are growing and causing symptoms. If your lungs are infected with active TB, it is easy to spread the disease to others.
How it is being spread to others?
Since TB in the lungs is very contagious, it spreads when a person without TB yet will breathe in the bacteria from the air, which came from the infected person who didn’t undergo any treatment or is still under the denial stage. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected with TB.
What more? An infec-ted person releases even more bacteria when he or she does things like cough, sneeze or spit, laugh, sing or simply talk. He or she propels the TB germs into the air. So, be very careful folks!
People ill with TB can infect up to 10 to 15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment up to two-thirds of people ill with tuber-culosis will die, accor-ding to WHO.
Those who are at risk of getting TB includes people who have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), malnutrition or diabetes, or another illness that weakens the immune system; have close contact with someone who has active TB such as living in the same house as some-one who is infected with TB; care for a patient who has active TB such as doctors or nurses; live or work in crowded places such as prisons, nursing homes, or homeless shelters where other people may have active TB; have poor access to health care such as homeless people and migrant farm workers; abuse drugs or alcohol; and last but not the least, use tobacco or smoke ciga-rette.
Mostly young adults or those in their productive years are affected with TB, although all age groups are at risk. Researchers said over 95 percent of cases and deaths are in developing countries.
Therefore, if you have persistent cough for more than two weeks, cough up blood, chest pain or pain with breathing or coughing, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever, night sweats and chills, visit your family physician now before it’s too late.
HEALTHWATCHING: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10