World Tuberculosis Day! 24 March 09


Tuberculosis is a disease caused by the Bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis , is an airbone infectious but curable disease. It primarily affects the lungs disseminates into the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems. It can also affect the central nervous system, the genitourinary system, the gastrointestinal system, bones, joints, and even the skin.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis : 

Aerobic organism, slender Bacilli (rods), Gram positive, Acid fast bacilli (Zeihl Neelson stain), Generation Time – 20 hours or longer, transmission through aerosal droplets.acid fast stain

MDR TB – Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis – Strains of M.tuberculosis resistant to first line of  TB drugs mainly Rifampicin and Isoniazid.

XDR TB – Extremely Drug Resistant Tuberculosis – Strains of M.tuberculosis resistant to most effective anti-TB drugs, emerged from the mismanagement of MDR TB.

Commom symptoms of tuberculosis :

  • Cough for three weeks or more, sometimes with blood-streaked sputum
  • Fever, especially at night
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite


Tuberculosis is treated with first line of anti-TB drugselectron-microscope1

  • Rifampicin
  • Streptomycin
  • Isoniazid
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Ethambutol

Treament can be successful when the patient takes his/her medication regularly and completely. But if  he/she stops the medication, it ends up in drug resistant strains of M.tuberculosis.

Drug resistant Tuberculosis:

MDR-TB can be transmitted directly or may be acquired due to improper medications.

Why do pepole stop their medications? The reasons are as follows :

  1. People feel better and assume they are cured of the disease even before the medication period is over.
  2. Side effects of these drugs are so complicated that the patients stop their medication.
  3. Acess to the hospital for a long period of time, makes it difficult for them to follow.
  4. Immigration of patients to a different place, breaks the continuity.

TB and HIV:

Anyone can be affected with TB. But People infected with HIV are at greater risks of acquiring TB. TB is the most likely cause of death for HIV pateients.

DOTS Directly Observed Treatment Short Course :

The WHO recommended treatment strategy for detection and cure of TB is DOTS. DOTS combines five elements :

  1. Political / management commitment.
  2. TB diagnosis through sputum examination (microscopy). X-ray – secondary diagnostic tool.
  3. Availability of complete and quality anti-TB medications.
  4. Supervised treatment ( a responsible person making sure that the patient takes the anti-TB medication everyday).
  5. Recording and reporting of cases and outcomes.

Outcomes of DOTS:

  1. DOTS produces cure rates of upto 95% even in the poorest countries.
  2. DOTS prevents new infections by curing infectious patients.
  3. DOTS prevents the development of MDR-TB by ensuring the full course of treatment is followed.
  4. The World Bank has ranked the DOTS strategy as one of the ” most cost-effective of all health interventions.”

Our Contribution To World Tuberculosis Day?

Get to know about the basic knowledge about the disease : understanding the nature of the disease, modes of transmission, steps to prevent the disease, disease management, prognosis etc. Spread awareness about TB that it is highly contagious disease but curable if one takes the medicines regularly and completely. Educate common man about Tuberculosis – the disease, acess available to the medical care etc. If not to many people atleast to a handful of them,  your friends/colleagues/relatives.

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3 Responses to World Tuberculosis Day! 24 March 09

  1. Ravoof says:

    Nice article. Just a few Q’s.

    How do we get them? Should we always wear a mask when we go out? How do I prevent myself from getting TB? A vaccine maybe?

    Anyways nice to know it’s curable.

    …keep tuberculating!

  2. Fowjana Jenofar says:

    TB spreads through air from an infected person to another. Mainly through the air droplets which contain the bacilli. Wearing a mask when we go out is a good practice, but to be practical it is impossible to wear one every time we go out. Hence when we go to a place where TB is prevalent or visit a TB patient/ hospital, it is advisable to wear a mask. But it is mandatory for TB patients to wear a mask.

    BCG vaccine, bacille Calmette-Guérin is a vaccine for tuberculosis disease. It is one of the first vaccine given to babies right after its birth. BCG vaccine can be given upto 5 years of age. And if you were not immunized against TB, don’t worry just keep your immune system healthy by eating balance diet.

  3. Ravoof says:

    thanks for the info.

    lets all be healthy.

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