What is it? How is it caused?
Not only does it affect the lungs, but it can also affect the central nervous system, the lymphatic system, and the circulatory system.
- Latent TB- The bacteria is present but inactive, it shows no symptoms. It is not contagious.
- Active TB- Makes you sick, shows symptoms, and is contagious.
Other symptoms of TB include:
- unexplained weight loss
- shortness of breath
- night sweats
- loss of breath
- However, most people do not show symptoms!
- The most common is a skin test called the Mantoux Test. This test takes a small amount of PPD (purified protein derivative) tuberculin that is injected into the forearm and after 48-72 hours it is looked at again. The doctor or nurse is looking for a hard, raised bump at the site of the injection. If they find this, you usually are tested positive for TB.
- A blood test can also show if it is active or latent.
- Microscopic sputum analyses or cultures can find TB bacteria in the sputum.
Who is affected?
People with a high risk:
- Those who live with others who have active TB infections
- Poor or homeless people
- Foreign-born people who come from countries with endemic TB
- Older people, nursing home residents, and prison inmates
- Alcoholics and intravenous drug users
- Those who suffer from malnutrition
- Diabetics, cancer patients, and those with HIV/AIDS or other immune system problems
- Health-care workers
- Workers in refugee camps or shelters
If TB is inactive then you are given an antibiotic called isoniazid(INH). It is prescribed for six to twelve months.
If TB is active you are also given a form of INH such as rifampin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide.
You can receive a vaccine called BCG. It is used in several parts of the world and protect children and infants. Maintain a healthy diet, and get regular TB test if you live in high risk areas, and taking your TB medication.