Taking a Deeper Look at Tuberculosis

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Worldwide, tuberculosis (TB) affects 1 out of 3 people, with an average of nine million cases per annum and resulting to two million deaths. TB is one of the most common conditions acquired by both adults and children, and males and females – which means that this illness does not choose a particular type of individual to attack.

Although recent developments in medical technology showed a decline of TB cases in developed nations, more than 50 per cent of cases are still concentrated in five developing countries including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria. However, this doesn’t mean that developed countries are already immune or free from the disease.

Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Generally, it attacks the lungs and even the other parts of the body like the spine, kidneys, and the brain. If left untreated with drug therapy, TB can lead to death.

 

The number of TB cases may be declining, but multi-drug resistant (MDR) cases are staying stable. Drug-resistant TB is harder and more expensive to treat than the regular TB. It could take about 18 to 24 months of complicated toxic therapy. People spread it for longer periods of time and it is harder to kill the bacteria.

According to recent research, people with MDR tuberculosis were seven times more likely to have been treated previously for TB and were also less likely to have completed drug therapy. Thus, it poses the highest risk for developing the resistant strains of the bug.

When infected with TB germs, the person’s body can react differently: the person can kill or eliminate the germs, or inhale and contain them for years before it becomes active, or the person can get sick right after contacting the germs.

Because of the gravity of the situation, the World Health Organization aims to reduce the number of TB cases and deaths worldwide by 2015, with much more focus on Eastern Europe and Africa. The goal is to detect at least 70 percent of the cases and treating 85 percent successfully.

The first and most primary way to reduce the cases of TB is proper education. Individuals – both adults and children – should be taught what tuberculosis is and how dangerous it can be. They should be guided as how they can prevent it or deal with it once someone is infected. Schools, hospitals, media, and government offices can play a significant role in achieving this global health movement.

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