Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease that is caused by bacteria and it spreads through the air from person to person. While it is preventable and curable, it can be fatal if it is not treated properly. According to the 2017 Global TB Report released by WHO, India continues to have the highest cases of Tuberculosis in the world. When a person infected with lung TB coughs, sneezes or spits, he/she propels TB germs into the air. One only needs to inhale a few of these germs to become infected. The most common symptoms of TB are night sweats, fever, cough, weight loss, fatigue and loss of appetite.
There are two types of Tuberculosis – Latent TB and Active TB. Let’s find out more about these two types!
Latent TB occurs when a person is infected with the TB bacteria, albeit in small numbers. People suffering from latent TB do not feel sick and experience none of the above-mentioned symptoms. They aren’t infectious either. What’s more? These people normally have a normal chest x-ray and in high-burden TB countries such as India, a majority of people are believed to have latent TB.
Active TB, on the other hand, is a lot more dangerous especially if the person doesn’t receive timely treatment. In active TB, the TB bacteria rapidly multiplies and invades different organs of the body. A person with active TB may spread TB to others by airborne transmission of infectious germs. If you have been diagnosed with active TB, you will need to give a detailed history of every person whom you may have come in contact with as it is likely that they may have contracted the disease too.
One in 10 people who are infected with TB develop active TB at some point in their lives. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) estimate, 8 million people develop active TB each year. Kokilaben Hospital’s Pulmonary Medicine department helps diagnose and treat various respiratory diseases including TB. We have a state-of-the-art Pulmonary Function Testing Lab for comprehensive lung function testing.
There is also something known as drug-resistant TB which means that the bacteria in your body won’t be affected by certain drugs. When this happens, you will have to use a second line of drugs that are not only costlier, but also cause more side-effects. The easiest way to prevent TB is by stopping the spread of the bacteria from one person to another.