Known Facts about TB

TB or tuberculosis as it is less popularly known as, has troubled the human race since time immemorial. The ancient Greeks and Romans were not free from the ravages of this deadly disease. In countries like India, where the living condition of the poor sections of the society are far from ideal, TB is a lethal force. Millions of people living in wet and damp conditions, not to mention unhygienic ones, are prone to contacting TB. The health sector of India has been able to achieve some success in stemming the spread of TB in the urban areas as dedicated TB centres are giving free tests and treatment to those who can not afford private healthcare, but in the rural sector, this is still a cause of concern.

The Diagnosis

Thanks to the development of modern science and medicine, tuberculosis is no longer a fatal disease. However, the catch phrase here is that the patient needs immediate and consistent medical aid for at least 6 months. The problem here is that people are not really aware of what they need to do in order to ascertain that they have TB. Persistent cough and blood in the sputum are some symptoms that cannot be ignored. Once these symptoms are getting manifested, it is time to head for a complete diagnosis at a nearby health clinic.

An X-ray of the thoracic region is the most basic test that can help doctors zero in on a TB patient. The X-ray pictures of the lungs will throw clear light on how infected the patient is and how much the infection has spread out. Diagnosis of the sputum coughed up by the patient is a sure way of determining whether a person has TB. Pathologists can also carry out culture of the kind of bacterial strain that is causing the disease. This will also help doctors prescribe medicines that are typical of this kind of bacterial infection.Blood tests to diagnose TB of any organ is not diagnostic and WHO has recommended that such tests must be banned for diagnosing TB.

The Precaution

Taking precautions so that the infection does not spread it is important sometimes treat patients in isolation for at least two weeks with standard TB drugs.Normally,this would render the disease lmuch less virulent and likelihood of infecting other people will diminish but a screening close relatives must be done at the earliest by the healthcare personnel.This involves doing a chest x-ray or a tuberculin test or sometimes both.Children and older people are more vulnerable to any disease and this is more relevant to bear in mind when doing TB surveillance and treat a TB patient properly and effectively is as important as diagnosing it. TB is highly infectious. Hospitals and health clinics have to exercise the utmost caution so that other patients do not get infected. Persistent treatment for 6 months usually enough to see the patient return to normal life, without any residual infection. If that is not done and treatment is discontinue then there is a high risk for developing various types of drug resistance which may be very difficult to treat.Poor compliance with the treatment is perhaps the commonest cause of emergence of drug resistance in India. There is significant hope for a TB patient to recover fully if the treatment is properly administered and supervised by a healthcare worker or a family member.Screening close contacts of a patient of TB is vital and must be done in close contacts specially family members of the patient once TB is diagnosed.