Tuberculosis is one of the crucial health challenges among communicable diseases. TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease. In India, TB is responsible for the death of every third AIDS patient. India accounts for about 24% of the global prevalence of TB and 21% of the global TB deaths. TB has affected 2.64 million Indians and killed nearly 4,50,000 people in the year 2019. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, there is a big drop in the notification of TB cases and the world suffers a big reverse in progress towards TB. The Government of India has announced its plan to eliminate TB by 2025 through its National Tuberculosis Elimination Program.
World TB Day
World TB Day is celebrated every year on March 24. The day is celebrated to raise awareness and inform people about the bacterial disease.
The theme of World TB Day 2022 is ‘Invest to end TB. Save lives.’ The theme draws attention to the need for investment and resources that are required to eliminate the disease.
Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria, mycobacterium tuberculosis. When this bacterium starts developing inside the body, the body starts showing signs and symptoms. The bacteria can affect any organ of the body but it mostly affects the lungs as 80% of TB cases are related to pulmonary TB.
Symptoms of TB
1. Coughing that lasts longer than 3 weeks.
2. Bloody sputum
3. Fever, chills, loss of appetite, fatigue, and weight loss
4. Abdominal pain, joint pain, headache, seizures
5. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and night sweats
Risk factors of TB
1. Weak immune system – Healthy immune system may fight easily with bacteria. It’s the weaker immune system (because of HIV AIDS, diabetes, cancer, malnutrition, very young or old) that can grip the disease.
2. Traveling or living in areas with a high tuberculosis rate.
3. Using tobacco increases the risk of TB
4. Being in regular contact with people who are ill increases your chances of contracting the disease. Thus, it is always suggested to wear a mask and follow hand hygiene.
The treatment of TB requires a combination of antibiotics. Latent TB might need only 1-2 types of drugs but active TB requires several drugs at once. The most common drugs used to treat tuberculosis are
For drug-resistant TB, other drugs like fluoroquinolones and injectables are also used.
Importance of completion of the treatment course
Completion of the TB treatment course is very important. Stopping or skipping medicines will allow the bacteria that are still alive to become resistant to those drugs. So, even if you start feeling better, don’t stop the medicines. Complete your course.
It's high time, awareness is the need of the hour. Let's pledge to create awareness on a mass level to eradicate the disease completely on this World TB Day.