TB is a bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria spread through the air when a person with active TB coughs, sneezes, spits, laughs, or talks. If another person breathes in these germs there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.
While TB is a preventable disease, it remains a major public health concern and leading cause of deaths especially in the developing countries. Therefore, it is every person’s business to prevent the spread of this disease.
Some of the most common symptoms of Active TB
These are some of TB symptoms
- Persistence cough that does not go away
- Rapid Weight loss
- Bloody sputum or Coughing up blood
- Sweating at night
- Lack of appetite
If a person experience these symptoms it is important to visit a health facility and get tested to determine if they have active TB.
What are the Risk Factors for TB?
Anyone can get TB however there are some groups of people who are at a higher risk of getting the disease. These include:
- People with suppressed immune system
- People living with chronic diseases such as diabetes
- People leaving HIV/AIDS
- People affected by poverty, malnutrition or poor housing
- Healthcare workers who are in close contact with the infectious agent
The first strategy of TB prevention is to stop the transmission of TB from one person to another. This is done through firstly, identifying people with active TB, and then curing them through the provision of drug treatment. With proper TB treatment, someone with TB will recover and will no longer spread the disease.
The second main strategy is vaccination. The BCG vaccine which is given to new born and infants in most countries where it is part of the national childhood immunization programme, has been shown to provide children with excellent protection against the disseminated forms of TB.
Finally, opening of windows or simply staying in a well ventilated area can be more way of reducing the risk of transmission of tuberculosis (TB) and other airborne diseases.
Things to note! TB is NOT spread by
- Shaking hands with someone who has TB
- sharing food or drink a sick person
- Sharing toilet with a person who has TB
TB HAS CURE… TB IS PREVENTABLE… STOP THE SPREAD OF TB!
BY: JOYCE MUTHONI
LEARNING ADVISER – IRES KENYA