PHILIPSBURG–In an effort to raise awareness about tuberculosis TB, the Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS), has provided information on the condition, its symptoms and what a person should do if they contract it.
CPS said in a press release that TB is a potentially serious, infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs, but could also cause other serious problems of the brain, bone etc.
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes. This can happen when someone with the untreated, active form of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings. A person with a weakened immune system cannot fight off the TB germs, and because many strains of tuberculosis resist the drugs most used to treat the disease, TB remains a concern.
People with active tuberculosis must take several types of medications for many months to eradicate the infection and prevent development of antibiotic resistance.
Although tuberculosis is contagious, it is not easy to catch. Persons are much more likely to get tuberculosis from someone they live or work with than from a stranger.
Most people with active TB who have had appropriate drug treatment for at least two weeks are no longer contagious. Although a person’s body may harbour the bacteria which cause tuberculosis, a person’s immune system usually can prevent them from becoming sick.
For this reason, doctors make a distinction when it comes to latent TB. In this condition, you have a TB infection, but the bacteria remain in your body in an inactive state and cause no symptoms. Active TB is a condition that makes a person sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later.
Signs and symptoms of active TB include: coughing that lasts three or more weeks; coughing up blood; chest pain or pain with breathing or coughing; unintentional weight loss; fatigue, fever, night sweats or chills; loss of appetite and swelling or enlargement of lymph nodes.
Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of the body including the kidney, spine or brain. When TB occurs outside the lungs signs and symptoms vary according to the organs involved. For example, tuberculosis of the spine may result in back pain and tuberculosis in the kidneys might cause blood in the urine.
CPS urges persons to see their doctor if they have fever, unexplained weight loss, drenching night sweats or a persistent cough. These are often signs of TB, but can also result from other medical problems. “Your doctor can perform tests to help determine the cause.” It is also recommended to visit a doctor or CPS’ surveillance team at the Vineyard Office Park, Philipsburg if a family member has been diagnosed with tuberculosis of the lungs.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/73494-cps-puts-spotlight-on-tuberculosis