(TB) Tuberculosis

(TB) Tuberculosis


Did you know that in the current world, there are those people who still think that Tuberculosis is a disease of the past? (Health News flash, 2002). Estimates by world health organization (WHO) indicate that every year, 8 million people suffer from TB and 2 million succumb to it worldwide. The disease is passed from one person to another through air and it mostly attacks the lungs though this does not exclude other parts of the body as well. Most people get infected without knowing it because it may not display its symptoms in some occasions, in what is called latent tuberculosis. More of 90 cases of tuberculosis can be treated. (EMed TV, 2010). Based on the researches that have been done, this essay seeks to find out about the causes, symptoms and treatment of the disease.


TB is caused by known as bacterium mycobacterium tuberculosis. This bacterium spreads through droplets that are microscopic. They are usually released in the air when a person with active coughs of TB, which are untreated, sneezes, spits or even through speaking. Even though the bacteria get into the air every time a person opens his or her mouth, it is not easy to get infected that easily. When compared to flu, the latter spreads more easily than the former. For one to be infected, he must be exposed to the bacteria for long. A person who has the latent one is not in a position to infect anyone. Moreover, the one who has the active TB and has been undergoing treatment for a period of two weeks is said to be not contagious (Healia Home, 2009).

Those people who are living in unclean areas which could be overcrowded are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. However, in the modern world, HIV virus has made the victims to be more susceptible to the disease. Poor nutrition and environment has pre disposed the homeless to the disease also (Health Grade Inc, 2010).

At first, the bacteria affect the lungs and this triggers the immune system to respond within the first 8 weeks. Sometimes, it succeeds to eliminate the disease from the body. In other times, it only suppresses it and this is when somebody is said to suffer from the latent tuberculosis which may last for several years. When the immune system fails to counter the bacteria or suppress it leads the latter to fill up the air spaces in the lungs. When this happens, then the person is said to be having an active TB infection. After filling the air spaces, it spreads all over the lungs and even to the rest of the body (Healia Home, 2009).

Several factors such as Leukemia, diabetes mellitus which is uncontrolled, Hodgkin’s disease, and AIDS among others are known to increase the risk of infection by reactivating it (Health Grade Inc, 2010). Some conditions are also said to facilitate the infection of the bacteria. These include immunodeficiency, malnutrition, alcoholism and pneumoconiosis, commonly found among the workers in the coal mines (health grade Inc, 2010).

Some risk factors have also been identified and they include; the existence of latent TB which can become a full blown TB, aging and Corticosteroid therapy among others. Young children are also susceptible to the disease (Health Grade Inc, 2010).

Research has been done on some East African TB patients and it has been discovered that, those patients have been infected by an unusual strain of bacteria that exist in colonies and which appear very different from the mycobacterium tuberculosis (The All I Need, 2005).


When a person has active tuberculosis, he may experience symptoms like; losing weight, sweating a lot at night, bouts of fever and loss of appetite. Sometimes the symptoms cannot be noticed by the patient. If a person goes without treatment for some weeks or months, he or she may die. It has been discovered that, one out of three patients die within the first  weeks or months of going without treatment. For others, the infection may come to an end due to strong immune system or may develop into chronic level of the disease, which is characterized by chest pains, coughs and bloody sputum. Symptoms on other parts of the body other than the lungs vary depending on the part of the body which is affected (Health News Flash, 2002). When going for diagnosis, the doctors will be looking for such symptoms as pneumonia, tumors in the lungs, and fungal infection in the respiratory organ among others (Health grades Inc, 2010).

Effects of tuberculosis

If a disease goes for along time without being treated, it may damage the lungs permanently. The disease may also spread to the bones and joints and at other times, it may also infect the brain. The other effect is that, since it is contagious, it may lead to the infection of another person (Steady Health, 2007).


The main question that people usually ask is; can TB be treated? With relevant antibiotics, it is possible to get cured but this happens in more than nine patients out of ten. For the treatment of tuberculosis to be more successful, the patient and the doctor need to work hand in hand and cooperate with even other health care providers. This process of treatment entails combination of a number of antibiotics which are different. In addition, the person will be required to be under medication for at least six months and which may extend to twelve months. The patients are also required to follow prescriptions carefully given by the doctor. They should take their medicine on time, and every day for that matter, until the 6 or 12 months are over (Health News Flash, 2002).

Some patients have a tendency of stopping to take their medicine as soon as they feel better which may happen after some weeks of treatment. Another reason that may lead them to stop their medication is due to the fact that many tuberculosis medicines have side effects which are not pleasant. The moment one stops taking the medicine, there are high chances that he may develop the disease again and even spreading to other people. If one is fond of skipping some days of taking the medicine, the bacteria will learn to fight the antibiotics and soon the medicine will not be able to eliminate the disease. When this happens, the disease will be said to be resistant tuberculosis. Some patients are known to be resistant to several tuberculosis medications; this type of TB is called ’multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.’ This one is very difficult to cure (Health News Flash, 2002).

The treatment may involve combination of drugs such as Isoniazid (INH) rifampicin combination, Pyrazinamide, Ethambutal, Rifampicin, Streptomycin, and short course chemotherapy. It may also involve treatment of multi drug resistance which will take long, when the infection has really spread in the lungs. Surgery may be involved in the treatment where all or part of the lung that is infected is removed but this will happen after the patient has undergone the medication therapy first (Health Grades Inc, 2010).

Other alternative treatments include: Drosera homeopathic prevention, Arsenicum and Bryonia homeopathic remedy, Bacillinum homeopathic prevention and treatment and lastly, cinchona homeopathic remedy. In recent times, there have been reported increased cases of drug resistance. This has been observed mostly in people who are homeless, drug addicts and those who languish in poverty. This resistance can also be caused when very few drugs are prescribed for a patient. Multi-drug resistance is very dangerous and is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis strains which are resistant to several drugs. Though these people undergo treatment, 40-60% of them die. Those who may be having TB and HIV at the same time are at a higher risk and 80% of them usually succumb to the disease. Those patients who have multi drug resistance sometimes end up without any option of treatments (Health Grades Inc, 2010). Treatment for this strain of bacteria will call for a therapy of 18 months which can extend to 2 years if necessary.  These drugs usually lead the patients to suffer from very severe side effects. For them, they are required to take three drugs that are stronger than the bacteria (Health Grades Inc, 2010).

Recent research on Tuberculosis

A recent research done in the University Wisconsin-Madison Veterinary Medicine School, has promised a lot in regards to development of new vaccines for TB. In the lab, they identified new genes that are usually activated when they come into contact with the bacteria. They achieved this using a technique called New Microarray technology by Adel Talaat, a microbiologist in the school (Medical News, 2004).

In conclusion, research has so far proven that there is treatment for TB. Some people are not aware of this especially in the third world countries increasing the number of deaths as a result of the disease. The world should take the initiative to spread the gospel that TB can actually be cured. With the knowledge of the causes, symptoms and effects with combination of the right treatment, the disease can actually be eradicated. If people will pay more attention in diagnosing the disease in its early stages, without waiting for it to develop into chronic level, it is possible to eradicate it from the face of the earth. It is not enough to spend so much money on research and do nothing about it. The world should also be active in implementing the findings.

















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effective Vaccine. Retrieved http://www.news-medical.net/news/2004/07/09/3199.aspx 







Tuberculosis is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacteria tuberculosis. One third of the world’s population is thought to have been infected with M. tuberculosis with new infections occurring at …

Tuberculosis is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacteria tuberculosis. One third of the world’s population is thought to have been infected with M. tuberculosis with new infections occurring at …

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