Every year 24th March is commemorated as the World TB Day to raise public awareness about the World’s no 1 infections killer disease ‘Tuberculosis’. The WHO theme for World TB day 2018 is Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World
In 1982, Dr Robert Koch discovered the TB bacillus, the bacteria causing TB and made ground-breaking progress towards the cure of disease. 24 March, 2018 marks the 136th Anniversary of this significant discovery.
TB kills nearly 1.7 million people each year claiming over 4500 lives per day, making it a global epidemic. To chalk a global plan for ending TB, first ever UN General Assembly High level meeting will be held in September 2018.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Tuberculosis is a highly infectious disease that spreads rapidly through air. Persons with compromised immune system or suffering from HIV are highly susceptible to catching this infection.
Most general symptoms of TB are:
⦁ Night sweats, chills
⦁ Unexplained Weight Loss
⦁ Loss of appetite
Symptoms specific to Pulmonary TB:
⦁ Cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks
⦁ Blood in cough
⦁ Chest Pain
Diagnosis of TB is done through:
⦁ Mantoux tuberculin skin test
⦁ Blood test
⦁ X-Ray that displays abnormality in lungs
⦁ Sputum analysis
Treatment and Precautions
TB can be treated by taking the FDA approved drugs for 6 to 9 months. In case of Multi Drug Resistant Tb, the treatment may last for upto 2 years and includes injectable medicines. The first line of anti-TB drugs, as approved by FDA are:
⦁ isoniazid (INH)
⦁ rifampin (RIF)
⦁ ethambutol (EMB)
⦁ pyrazinamide (PZA)
It is vital that the TB patients be quarantined for 2 to 3 weeks while the disease is in infectious phase. The TB patients must take their medicines regularly and exactly as prescribed along with protein rich diet. If they stop taking the drug too soon, they can get the disease again, and the bacteria may become resistant to drug leading to the occurrence of Drug Resistant TB.In most countries, Government provides free treatment for TB under the DOTS routine as an effort to end this epidemic.
TB in India:
India is the country with the highest burden of TB and MDR TB, accounting for a quarter of global TB burden.
Incidents of TB cases 2.79 million
The treatment success rate of TB patients remains above 85%. Although a significant progress has been made in diagnosing and curing TB, a lot remains to be done to end this disease altogether. This year’s WHO theme calls upon everyone, from national leaders to common man, to become a leader is spreading awareness and preventing TB from spreading further and to help the patients recover from this deadly disease.
So let us all pledge to come together and help towards eliminating Tuberculosis.