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Tuberculosis: Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, BCG vaccine and treatment

Tuberculosis: Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, BCG vaccine and treatment

Tuberculosis (TB) disease (also known as phthisis, or white plague) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria that mainly affects the lungs and respiratory system, but can also affect other parts of the body such as the kidneys, spine, and brain.

Most infected individuals display no symptoms; when symptoms are present they may include fever, night sweats, weight loss, and fatigue that can last weeks or months. Occasionally vomiting and diarrhea may occur.

What is tuberculosis (TB)?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria that usually attacks the lungs. It can, however, attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.

If not treated properly, TB can be fatal. Symptoms of TB include coughing up blood, chest pain, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.

There are several ways to test for tuberculosis including an X-ray, sputum culture, blood tests, or skin tests. To prevent getting TB you should avoid people who have it and always wear masks if there is an outbreak.

There are many types of medication to treat tuberculosis but if you have drug resistant tuberculosis then you may need surgery or even chemotherapy drugs in order to cure it.

Types of tuberculosis:

There are two types of tuberculosis:

  • Latent tuberculosis
  • Active tuberculosis.

Latent tuberculosis is when a person has the bacteria in their body but it is not causing any symptoms. Active tuberculosis is when the bacteria are actively growing and causing symptoms.

There are three main types of active tuberculosis:

  • Pulmonary tuberculosis
  • Extrapulmonary tuberculosis
  • Miliary tuberculosis.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is when the infection is in the lungs. Extrapulmonary tuberculosis is when the infection is outside of the lungs. Miliary tuberculosis is when the bacteria spread to tiny lung sacs called alveoli.

The symptoms for all forms of tuberculosis include coughing, chest pain, and fever with night sweats. The treatment for all forms of tuberculosis include taking antibiotics for 6 months or more depending on what type you have (pulmonary or extrapulmonary).

Symptoms of tuberculosis:

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infection that affects the lungs. The most common symptom of TB is a cough that lasts for more than three weeks.

Other symptoms of TB include weight loss, fever, night sweats, and fatigue. If you have these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that you can be diagnosed and treated for TB.

It is also very important to take precautions when you are in close contact with someone who has TB. These precautions include avoiding close contact such as kissing or sharing cups and eating utensils.

If a person with active TB coughs or sneezes into their hands, they should wash their hands before touching other people or things.

What is tuberculosis test?

Tuberculosis (TB) test is a skin test that is used to determine if someone has been infected with tuberculosis. A positive TB test means that the person has been infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

TB test is not a diagnostic tool, but it can be used to help determine if someone has been exposed to the bacteria. There are two types of tuberculosis tests:

  • Mantoux test; and
  • Heaf test.

Mantoux test is the most common type of TB test. It is also known as an intradermal test because it injects a small amount of tuberculin into the outer layer of skin (dermis).

If the injection stimulates an immune response, the area around the injection will become inflamed. If there is no reaction within ten days then this indicates that you have not been infected with tuberculosis or had any contact with it in recent times.

However, if the area becomes swollen and red within 48 hours after injection then this may indicate infection with tuberculosis.

The results of the test are measured by comparing the diameter of inflammation at each site on your arm against markings on a card.

A result greater than five millimeters could indicate that you have been infected with tuberculosis in recent time periods or have had contact with someone who has developed active TB. You should seek medical advice for a diagnosis.

An alternative type of TB test is the heaf test which does not involve injecting anything under the skin and instead uses blood samples from a vein in your arm.

The test measures the levels of certain proteins found in the blood called antibodies. High levels would mean that you have been infected with tuberculosis and need treatment before it develops into an active case.

If left untreated, tuberculosis can lead to serious consequences such as malnutrition, heart failure, extreme weight loss and death.

Though it was once considered eradicated, due to its re-emergence in many countries around the world these days people are still getting infected.

How do you get tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attacks the lungs, but it can also attack other parts of the body.

You can get TB by breathing in air that contains the bacteria. This can happen when you are close to someone who has TB and they cough or sneeze.

You can also get TB by drinking milk or eating food that contains the bacteria. If you have TB, you will need to take medicine for several months to kill the bacteria.

These medicines are called anti-TB drugs. If you do not finish your treatment, the bacteria may become resistant to these drugs so it will be harder to treat in the future.

Some of these medicines may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, rashes and redness of skin.

What is a tuberculosis skin test?

A tuberculosis skin test is a simple test that can be done in a doctor’s office to determine if someone has been infected with tuberculosis.

A small amount of liquid is injected into the skin on the arm, and then the area is observed for 48-72 hours. If there is a raised, hard area at the injection site, it is considered a positive result.

However, sometimes the reaction will take longer than 72 hours to show up or may not show up at all.

The next step would be to take blood samples for testing which would give a more accurate reading about whether or not someone has tuberculosis. Blood tests can also tell doctors where in the body an infection might have started.

It’s important to know that many people who are infected with tuberculosis do not develop symptoms, so they are unaware they have an active infection until it becomes life threatening.

These people are called latent carriers. It is recommended those who come from high risk countries get screened for TB every six months when they enter the United States and again once a year thereafter.

Medical treatments for tuberculosis:

There are several medical treatments for tuberculosis (TB). The most common is a course of antibiotics, which must be taken for at least six months.

Other treatments include surgery to remove the infected tissue, or chemotherapy. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be necessary.

There is also a vaccine available for those who are at high risk of contracting TB. BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccination has been given as an injection to children in many countries since 1921, including parts of Africa and Asia.

BCG can prevent infection with both M. tuberculosis and M. bovis (causing bovine TB). It does not give lifetime protection and does not protect against other strains of the disease, such as HIV-associated TB.

Research into better vaccines continues worldwide.

History of tuberculosis medicine:

Tuberculosis has been around for centuries, and the first treatment for TB was developed in the 1800s. The first TB vaccine was developed in the early 1900s, but it was not very effective.

In the 1950s, a new tuberculosis vaccine was developed that is still used today. TB is now treatable with a combination of drugs, but it can still be deadly if not treated properly.

The most common form of TB is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). These bacteria are usually passed from person to person through air droplets when one coughs or sneezes.

They travel into the lungs where they multiply and cause an infection. There are about 2 billion people who have latent TB infection, which means they have Mtb in their bodies but are not ill with active disease.

People with latent TB infection may develop active TB later on in life if their immune system becomes weakened.

Symptoms of active TB include fever, coughing up blood, weight loss, night sweats, and chest pain.

Active TB can usually be cured with treatment – but only about half of all people infected actually receive treatment.

Treatment for active TB includes taking antibiotics and living away from other people for 4-6 weeks while your body gets rid of the bacteria.

After being treated, you will need to take medicine for a year so you don’t become re-infected. You should also get screened for HIV because TB can make HIV worse.

Is it safe to travel with tuberculosis (TB)?

Yes, it is safe to travel with tuberculosis (TB)!

However, you should take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. If you have TB, you should not cough or sneeze into your hands, or shake hands without first washing your hands.

You should cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and then use a tissue to clean the area that may have been contaminated.

In some cases, people with TB will need to stay home from work or school for a period of time while they are being treated.

They can resume their normal activities once they no longer have any symptoms and do not feel sick at all times. If you think you might have TB, see your doctor right away so they can determine what kind of treatment is best for you.

Preventing disease spread in your community:

Tuberculosis is a serious disease that can be deadly. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of TB so that you can get treatment as soon as possible.

You can help prevent the spread of TB by getting vaccinated and by knowing how to properly treat the disease.

If you think you may have TB, it is important to see a doctor right away so that you can start treatment and avoid spreading the disease to others.

There are vaccines available for preventing TB in children and adults. The vaccination should be given to children at least two months old, who will then need three more doses over the next nine months.

Adults should get their first vaccine at least six weeks before they might come into contact with someone with active TB.

They also need to receive four more shots over the course of eighteen months. After your child has been vaccinated, it’s important to make sure that he or she stays up-to-date on all of his or her shots.

The most common symptom of TB is coughing blood or mucus, but other symptoms include chest pain, difficulty breathing, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite and weight loss.


In conclusion, tuberculosis is a serious disease that can be deadly. However, it is preventable and treatable. If you think you may have been exposed to TB, see a doctor right away. There is also a vaccine available to help protect you from the disease. Doctors recommend getting vaccinated against TB before visiting areas where rates of infection are high. Those who work in health care, law enforcement, or social services should get an annual TB skin test as well as an injection for protection against the disease.

A person with active tuberculosis will show symptoms such as weight loss, night sweats, fever lasting more than one week or sputum (phlegm) production with large amounts of pus. Symptoms of latent tuberculosis include weight loss and night sweats while there are no other symptoms present in inactive cases.

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