13 Dec 2022


A Perspective on Infectious Disease: Tuberculosis

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Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis . Its target issues are usually the soft tissues of the body. The lungs are the primary site of infestation. The bacterium is airborne and is transferred from one person or place to another through tiny droplets. The droplets are passed through sneezing and coughing. The disease is meaningful to me because it is transmittable and has not been eliminated in the world. It can still be transferred from one community, region, and nation to another. Young people, elderly, and urban dwellers are the main group of individuals that are predisposed to TB. Another concern is that it has the potential to be latent in the body. Also, as a bacterium-caused disease, there are indicators of drug resistance. Public awareness programs are not vigorous. People need to be encouraged to undergo TB screening for the purpose of early detection and prevention. And treatment programs for TB are very expensive and time-consuming.

TB is mainly categorized into two based on the current level of the bacterium in the body. There is the latent and the active TB. The immune system can inhibit the manifestation of symptoms in someone who has the bacterium in their system. This state of infestation is not contagious. However, if left untreated, it has the potential to develop into active TB. About two billion individuals in the world have the latent form of TB. It usually develops signs and systems within weeks or years. Symptoms of active TB include a bloody cough, pain in the chest associated with breathing; sneezing; coughing; loss of appetite; night sweat; weight loss; fever; fatigue; chills; and a cough of long duration. Other symptoms are related to the organ that is affected such as the kidneys, and the liver.

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The widely used Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine was developed in 1921. To date, it is the only preventive approach and the scientifically accepted vaccine against TB. It is not completely efficient and is not preventive against adult pulmonary TB (WHO, 2015). The partial impact of BCG in the body calls for research on a robust and effective vaccine that offers faster treatment, less expensive and preventive method. Currently, three areas of research are ongoing: infection prevention before bacterium exposure; disease prevention after exposure; and recurrence prevention. These ongoing investigation areas are to provide treatment that will protect children and adults beyond infancy or early childhood. Molecular biology in TB vaccines is at different phases of preclinical and clinical trials.

The treatment program for TB is long and can be stressful. And the side-effects of medication are another point of concern for a family and patient. Also, stigmatization against TB is not uncommon. Thus, family and friends support, understanding is critical to treatment outcomes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “If the patient and the health care worker have a good relationship with each other, the patient is more likely to adhere to treatment,” (CDC, 2014). Caregivers need to demonstrate to the patient that TB is curable and latent TB is not transmissible. Additionally, nutritional support is required during treatment because of the effect of drugs and infection. The healthcare team and family should encourage patient in the course of therapy. And after few weeks of treatment patients with active TB can be allowed to return to normal life activities as they continue medication. Patients should be informed that consistency is essential for treatment and prevention of recurrence.

TB is an infectious disease transferred from one person or place to another. It has two types based on the effective level of the bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Common symptoms are cough of a long duration and may be bloody. Usually, there is chest pain while sneezing or coughing. Treatment is available, and research is ongoing on prevention and treatment. Management of patients with TB requires family, friends, and the healthcare team to support the patients in the process.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Managing Tuberculosis Patients and Improving adherence. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tb/education/ssmodules/pdfs/module6v2.pdf 

World Health Organization. (2015). Tuberculosis Vaccine Development. Retrieved from


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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). A Perspective on Infectious Disease: Tuberculosis.


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