With 3 years of no new Polio cases reported, India was officially declared as a Polio-free nation by the World Health Organization (WHO) which was most certainly a major achievement but can we expect the same breakthrough to be achieved in cases of Tuberculosis too.

Can India be free from this epidemic in the next 10, 20 or 30 years?

That’s the big question!

India bears the maximum burden of Tuberculosis in the World with approximately 800 lives being lost yearly due to this lethal disease. It is roughly estimated that 80% of our country’s population is exposed to the Tuberculosis virus by the time they turn 20.

Delay in diagnosis and lack of awareness are 2 of the most important factors to have initiated the growing numbers of Tuberculosis cases in our country. To add to it, there are many myths and false notions about this disease which has worsened the scenario further. This year, On World Tuberculosis Day, we are exposing some of the most common myths related to this infectious disease:

Myth – I do not Smoke and since Tuberculosis virus affects only the lungs, I can never have TB

Fact – There are multiple factors that can cause Tuberculosis. In addition to the lungs, TB can impact many different organs of the human body including the brain, spinal cord, intestines, eyes, covering of the heart, bones & joints, stomach etc.

Myth – Tuberculosis is incurable

Fact – Early diagnosis plays an important role in the treatment of TB. If a patient thoroughly follows the treatment module and goes for regular follow-ups with the doctor, this disease is completely curable.

Myth – Only those who are poor & underprivileged can contract this disease

Fact – Anyone, regardless of his/her socio-economic background and living condition is susceptible to the TB virus.

Myth – Tuberculosis is extremely contagious and anyone who comes in contact with the infected person can contract it

Fact – Pulmonary or lung tuberculosis alone is marked as extremely infectious. Although TB is spread through the air when people who have the disease cough or sneeze, it takes close and lengthy contact with an infectious person to catch the disease

Myth – Tuberculosis is hereditary

Fact – TB is not caused by genetic factors but is contracted only after coming in close contact with an infected person.

Myth – TB infection & TB disease are the same

Fact – TB infection is a state whereby the TB germs are asleep in your body. This germ enters your body after coming in close contact with a TB infected person. TB infection progresses into TB disease when the germs become active and start affecting your organs. You can prevent this outcome by taking proper medications to get rid of the TB germs in your body

Myth – BCG vaccination offers guaranteed protection from TB

Fact – The only assurance that a BCG vaccination can give is that it safeguards children from contracting an extremely severe kind of Tuberculosis. Whether or not it protects adults from TB, is very uncertain because there have been cases in the past whereby people who were vaccinated earlier in life went on to contract the infected at a later stage.

Remember, if Tuberculosis is left untreated, it can also lead to death. Early diagnosis and timely medication is the only way to treat this illness.

The Pulmonary Medicine Department of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital provides a world class service in the diagnosis and management of various Respiratory Diseases and Sleep Disorders like Asthma, COPD, Pneumonia, Interstitial Lung Disease, Lung Cancer, and Tuberculosis. To know more, visit.

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