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World Tuberculosis Day: Know What Causes The Disease And Find Out The Symptoms

World Tuberculosis Day is a reminder to step up efforts to end the global epidemic.

World Tuberculosis Day: Know What Causes The Disease And Find Out The Symptoms

World Tuberculosis Day: People infected with TB should ensure social distancing

Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious disease that mainly affects the lungs. It is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which spreads from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air while coughing and sneezing. The disease has been around for most of human history and at times becomes deadly. The World Health Organisation and several other national and international organisations commemorate World TB Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis.

World Tuberculosis Day is also a reminder to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. On March 24, 1882, Dr Robert Koch announced he had found the bacterium that causes TB. This paved the way for diagnosing and curing this stubborn disease.

Causes of tuberculosis

When someone with an active form of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs, or sings, minute droplets of TB bacteria are released into the air. It is contagious, yet it is difficult to catch. It can only be contracted by breathing contaminated air.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, though tuberculosis spreads in the same manner as a cold or flu is, it is not as contagious. To catch get infected, you'd have to be in close contact with an infected individual for a lengthy time. Infections of tuberculosis, for example, are commonly spread among family members who live in the same house. It's quite improbable that you'd become infected by sitting next to an infected individual on a bus or train, for example.

The bacteria do not live on the surface.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that you can't get TB by:

-- Shaking someone's hand

-- Sharing food or drink

-- Touching bed linens or toilet seats

-- Sharing toothbrushes

-- Kissing

People with a weakened immune system have the highest risk of getting infected with TB, particularly those with HIV or AIDS. Additionally, IV drugs or excessive alcohol use weakens the immune system and makes a person more vulnerable to tuberculosis. Tobacco also increases the risk for TB infection.


-- Coughing for three or more weeks

-- Coughing up blood or mucus

-- Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing

-- Unintentional weight loss

-- Fatigue

-- Fever

-- Night sweats

-- Chills

-- Loss of appetite


Keeping the immune system healthy and avoiding exposure to someone with active TB is the best way to prevent the infection.

If you or any family member has active TB, here are the things you need to do:

-- Stay at home. People infected with TB should ensure social distancing, should not go to work, school or sleep in a room with other people for the first few weeks of treatment.

-- Ventilate the room by opening the windows. TB germs spread more easily in small closed spaces.

-- Cover your mouth. Use a tissue anytime you laugh, sneeze or cough. Properly seal and dispose of the dirty tissue.

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-- Wear a face mask. It helps lessen the risk of transmission.


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