There are not a lot of people in the world who have never heard of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a certain disease that in most cases attacks the lungs of a person but it can attack other organs as well. The bacterium that causes the disease is known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis is easily transmitted and all it takes is that a person who is suffering from it coughs or sneezes and the air will get full of droplets that contain the bacteria. A person who inhales these droplets is most likely to get infected and this is the most common way how people get affected with tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis was a very dangerous and deadly disease in the 19th century. Out of all the death causes in children not older than 4 years of age, tuberculosis was the eight leading cause. However, things have improved a lot in the meantime and there are not that many cases when tuberculosis was the cause of death.
However, nowadays tuberculosis has become a problem in the United States once again. It is mainly the homeless, prisoners and people who are rendered susceptible due to HIV infection that are affected by it.
Signs and symptoms of tuberculosis
Latent tuberculosis infection mainly causes no signs or symptoms and that is why it is hardy detectable. This is the first infection with the tuberculosis bacteria. The best way to determine whether a child is infected is to perform a tuberculin skin test. Even in cases when the disease is not yet visible but the tuberculin test shows positive, the child will need to take certain medication.
The primary infection is known to resolve on its own in a matter of few weeks. However, in some cases the disease progresses and spreads all over the lungs. Other common symptoms of tuberculosis include fever, weight loss, fatigue, cough and loss of appetite.
A person who wishes to prevent being affected with tuberculosis should avoid contact with people who are already affected with it, use medications that are considered to be a preventive measure in high-risk cases and maintain good living standards.
A lot of people have heard of a certain vaccine known as Bacille Calmette-Guerin or BCG but the vaccine is still considered to be controversial due to the fact that it does not always work in countries with low incidence of tuberculosis. This is the main reason why people in the United States do not receive this vaccine that often.