Tuberculosis

-Karen Gastel

The Meaning of T.B.

An infectious bacterial disease characterized by the growth of nodules (tubercles) in the tissues, especially the lungs.

Causes of T.B.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person through microscopic droplets released into the air. This can happen when someone with the untreated, active form of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings. Since the 1980s, the number of cases of tuberculosis has increased dramatically because of the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Infection with HIV suppresses the immune system, making it difficult for the body to control TB bacteria. As a result, people with HIV are many times more likely to get TB and to progress from latent to active disease than are people who aren't HIV positive. Another reason tuberculosis remains a major killer is the increase in drug-resistant strains of the bacterium. Since the first antibiotics were used to fight tuberculosis 60 years ago, some TB germs have developed the ability to survive, and that ability gets passed on to their descendants. Drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis emerge when an antibiotic fails to kill all of the bacteria it targets. The surviving bacteria become resistant to that particular drug and frequently other antibiotics as well. Some TB bacteria have developed resistance to the most commonly used treatments, such as isoniazid and rifampin.
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Symptoms of T.B.

  • A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • Pain in the chest
  • Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • No appetite
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Sweating at night
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T.B. Risk Factors

  • You have spent time with a person known to have TB disease or suspected to have TB disease
  • You have HIV infection or another condition that puts you at high risk for TB disease
  • You have signs and symptoms of TB disease
  • You are from a country where TB disease is very common
  • You live or work where TB disease is more common, such as a homeless shelter, migrant farm camp, prison or jail, and some nursing homes
  • You use illegal drugs
Higher Chance for Retrieving T.B. :


  • Have HIV infection
  • Have been infected with TB bacteria in the last two years
  • Have other health problems that make it hard for your body to fight disease
  • Abuse alcohol or use illegal drugs
  • Were not treated correctly for TB infection or TB disease in the past

Testing For Tuberculosis

  • The TB skin test involves injecting a small amount of fluid (called tuberculin) into the skin in the lower part of the arm. Then the person must return after 48 to 72 hours to have a trained health care worker look at their arm. The health care worker will look for a raised hard area or swelling, and if there is one then they will measure its size. They will not include any general area of redness.
  • The Chest X-Ray acute pulmonary TB can be easily seen on an X-ray. However, the picture it presents is not specific and a normal chest X-ray cannot exclude extra pulmonary TB.
  • IGRAs ( Interferon Gamma Release Assays ) are blood tests that measure a person's immune response to the bacteria that cause TB. The immune system mounts a complex response to TB bacteria, and produces some special molecules called cytokines. These assays work by detecting a cytokine called the interferon gamma cytokine. They are performed in practice by taking a blood sample and mixing it with special substances to identify if the cytokine is present.
  • Culture a.k.a Live Bacteria Diagnosing TB using culture can also take weeks because of the slow growth of TB bacilli. It averages 4 weeks to get a conclusive test result using the most common methods of solid media, with another 4-6 weeks to produce drug susceptibility results.

Treatments for T.B.

If you have latent tuberculosis, you may need to take just one type of TB drug. Active tuberculosis, particularly if it's a drug-resistant strain, will require several drugs at once. The most common medications used to treat tuberculosis include:

  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • Ethambutol (Myambutol)
  • Pyrazinamide

If you have drug-resistant TB, a combination of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones and injectable medications, such as amikacin, kanamycin or capreomycin, are generally used for 20 to 30 months. Some types of TB are developing resistance to these medications as well.

A number of new drugs are being looked at as add-on therapy to the current drug-resistant combination treatment including:

  • Bedaquiline
  • Delamanid
  • PA-824
  • Linezolid
  • Sutezolid

How The Body Reacts To Tuberculosis

How The Body Reacts To Tuberculosis | MSF |

Fundraiser For T.B.

Pants vs. Pumps

Sunday, Aug. 23rd, 2pm

Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL, United States

Chicago, IL

Come join us for raising money for people who can't afford to get the assistance they need for ridding of T.B. Their will be multiple fun activities to help those in need! The activity will be an almost all day event. Bring your pants & your pumps & get ready to rumble!