Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease caused by different strains of mycobacterium commonly referred to as mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is a very widespread infection and among the most lethal diseases. As a matter of fact, every year, over one million people die from tuberculosis infections or other tuberculosis related infections. Generally, tuberculosis is a lung infectious disease. However, tuberculosis can affect other body parts although these instances are very rare.
Tuberculosis is spread from one individual, who has an active tuberculosis infection, to another through the air, and hence it is an airborne disease. When the tuberculosis infected person cough or sneeze, the tuberculosis mycobacteriums are released to the air which are inhaled by the other peoples and thus lead to spread of the disease. Unfortunately, most tuberculosis does not have distinct symptoms during the initial or dormant stage, latent tuberculosis, although they test positive in tuberculosis test. Nevertheless, one in every ten people with latent tuberculosis eventually develops to active tuberculosis that if medication in not administered leads to over fifty percent of those infected.
Actually, about a third of the world’s population is believed to have been infected with the mycobacterium tuberculosis. According to research, every year, about one percent of the world’s population is infected with the disease. For instance, an approximation of fourteen million cases of chronic tuberculosis was reported in 2007. In the year 2013, nine million new cases of active infections globally, and an approximate of one million associated deaths was reported. However, most of these infections and deaths were reported in developing continents like Africa and Asia.
Although during latent stage tuberculosis has no symptoms, in active tuberculosis infection has several distinct symptoms which includes, chronic cough which in most case has some blood spots, night sweats, fever, and high rate of weight loss. However, tuberculosis infections on other body parts involve a wide range of symptoms.
Active tuberculosis diagnosis majorly relies on the chest x-rays, radiology and microscopic investigations as well as body fluids microbiological culture. Latent tuberculosis diagnosis depends on the tuberculin blood tests or skin test. Tuberculosis medication is quite challenging and needs multiple administrations of antibiotics over a long-term. Social contacts are as well scrutinized and if necessary treated. The common and major challenge in tuberculosis medication is the antibiotic resistance. In fact, in most cases, tuberculosis develops into drug-resistant infection which becomes a great challenge to the medical doctors. Tuberculosis prevention depends on vaccinations by use of Bacillus Chalmette-Guerin vaccine and screening programs.
Tuberculosis Research Paper
Tuberculosis, which can target any body part, results in the death of nearly two million people every year. TB is an infectious disease that is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis usually found in the droplets of an active TB patient (1). According to historical studies, TB was known to the ancient Egyptians, in fact, the analysis of the spinal column of the mummies from 2400 BC shows a definite pathological signs of TB decay. Thousands of years later, A. Waksman discovered the power of fungi in decreasing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth, and was able to isolate actinomycin that was too poisonous for use in both humans and animals. His second discovery, streptomycin, showed a more noticeable success; the bacteria vanished from the patient’s sputum and he made a quick recovery (2). By 2020 the incidence of TB disease will rise to 100 million new cases and will account for 36 million deaths a year. Nowadays, one person gets infected every second (1).__________________________________________________________
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Transmission, symptoms, and treatment are the three criteria by which tuberculosis, an infectious disease, can be described.
Although droplet transmission is the most common way to transmit TB, direct contact and infection via intestines are unusual ways to transmit this disease. TB is usually contracted by spreading through the tiny droplets that may spray into the air when an individual carrying the bacteria sneezes or coughs (4). Having direct exposure to bacteriogenic materials is another way to contract TB; therefore, workers, who are in close contact with these materials, are at most risk to develop TB this way, for example dissecting assistants, doctors, ranchers, and butchers. Finally, a person can get TB by eating contaminated animal products such as raw milk or undercooked meat from an infected animal (3).
Symptoms vary according to the infected organ. The commonest site of tuberculosis disease is the lungs, but it can spread to other organs specifically joints, bones, central nervous system, and urinary. Several symptoms are associated with pulmonary TB, including cough, fatigue, slight fever, and pain when breathing or coughing, while extrapulmonary TB symptoms may be back pain if the spine is affected, or blood in the urine of a patient with TB of the kidney (1).
The treatment regimen includes at least three or preferably four specific antibiotics that can be changed if the causative agent develops drug resistance. The initial regimen for treating TB should include four drugs: isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol; however if the bacteria becomes drug resistant then streptomycin is used instead of ethambutol (1, 2). Occasionally, the drugs may cause serious side effects. Possible side effects of rifampin, which are similar to symptoms of flu, include fever, chills, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting; while those of ethambutol are kidney and vision related (1).
In conclusion, tuberculosis is an infectious disease that can be described according to its transmission, symptoms, and treatments. It can be transmitted in various ways such as droplet, direct contact, and infection via intestines. Since pulmonary TB is the most common form of this disease, symptoms related to the lungs often appears as the disease progresses. Finally, certain antibiotics are prescribed for the treatment of TB that may differ if the patient contracted TB for the second time. Therefore, understanding TB in order to decreasing the mortality caused by it are the purposes of this term paper.
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