Tuberculosis: Contagious bacterial infection that affects the Lungs

TB adedejiofakure

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. TB is a global public health concern due to its prevalence and potential for serious health complications.

Tuberculosis adedejiofakure

Causes and Transmission

  • TB is primarily spread through the air when an infected person with active TB in their lungs coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • It can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, although this is less common.
  • Not everyone exposed to TB bacteria becomes infected. Factors like the duration of exposure, the proximity to the infected person, and individual immune system strength play a role.


  • TB infection can be latent or active.
  • Latent TB Infection (LTBI): Many people with TB infection have no symptoms and are not contagious. However, they may develop active TB in the future if their immune system becomes compromised.
  • Active TB Disease: Symptoms of active TB can include a persistent cough, coughing up blood, chest pain, fatigue, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.


  • Diagnosis often involves a combination of tests, including a skin or blood test (e.g., the Mantoux tuberculin skin test), a chest X-ray, and sputum tests to check for the presence of TB bacteria.
  • Molecular tests and cultures may also be used to confirm the diagnosis and identify drug-resistant strains.


  • TB is treatable with a course of antibiotics, typically over several months.
  • Common medications for TB include isoniazid, rifampin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide.
  • Multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) may require more complex treatment regimens with second-line drugs.


  • TB can be prevented through various strategies:
    • Vaccination: The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can provide partial protection against TB, particularly in children.
    • Infection Control: Good respiratory hygiene, proper ventilation in healthcare settings, and isolating infectious TB cases can reduce transmission.
    • Treatment of Latent TB: Treating individuals with LTBI can prevent the development of active TB.
  • Combating TB also involves addressing social determinants of health, such as poverty, malnutrition, and access to healthcare.

Global Impact

  • TB remains a major global health challenge. In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were about 10 million new TB cases and 1.5 million TB-related deaths.
  • TB disproportionately affects low- and middle-income countries, but it can occur anywhere.
  • The emergence of drug-resistant TB strains, such as MDR-TB and XDR-TB, poses additional challenges for TB control efforts.


  • TB control requires a coordinated effort involving healthcare systems, diagnostic capabilities, and access to medications.
  • Stigma and discrimination can deter individuals from seeking care and adhering to treatment.

Research and Innovation

  • Ongoing research aims to develop better diagnostics, shorter treatment regimens, and more effective vaccines to combat TB.

Tuberculosis and COVID-19

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted TB control efforts, including delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Tuberculosis is a complex and persistent global health issue. While progress has been made in reducing TB incidence and mortality rates, continued efforts are needed to achieve the goal of eliminating TB as a public health threat.

Timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, vaccination, and addressing the social determinants of TB are key components of TB control and prevention strategies.

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