History books have explained that there was a mass rampage of tuberculosis in Europe and North America around the 18th and 19th Century. It was until 1882 that “the microbial cause” was discovered by Robert Koch. Subsequent to his discovery, series of vaccines and treatments were developed and utilized, which have (in present times) contributed extensively towards the almost-complete eradication of tuberculosis. As you read further, this article will bring to light 6 facts you may not have known about this disease.
As in most terminal diseases, tuberculosis, otherwise known as TB is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Medical research has explained that this bacteria mostly targets the respiratory organs, although other studies have indicated that there are tendencies of it affecting other organs, such as the heart and kidneys.
Tuberculosis is an airborne disease. This simply means that the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria which causes TB can be transmitted from one person to another through the air. Unlike Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs), which may require some sort of physical contact, TB does not necessarily require such. Simply inhaling a large amount of air that contains the bacteria will be enough to transmit the disease.
The human immune system is built to autonomously fight pathogens (disease causing organisms); however, studies have revealed that certain factors can hamper the effective functioning of the immune system. With regards to TB, health experts have strongly opined that the continuous and prolonged use of Tobacco can significantly increase one’s risk of contracting TB to about 20 percent. Furthermore, other sickness which cripple the immune system, such as HIV, can increase an individual’s risk of contracting to TB to almost 26-31 percent.
Tuberculosis can be cured with antibiotic treatment, drugs such as isoniazid and rifampicin have evolved to be the “standard anti-TB drugs”. This notwithstanding, a significant portion of TB patients have died as a result of delayed or incomplete treatment.
There are two types of TB: Latent and Active. The latent TB is said to remain inactive (not active) in a patient’s body, it causes no symptoms and it is mostly not contagious but can become active when triggered by certain factors. Active TB, on the other hand, is what causes symptoms and is highly contagious.
Finally, some of the symptoms of TB range from: coughing (in severe cases, there can be blood or mucus), extreme fatigue, fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, sweating at night and chills.
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