March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day. In this medical myths article, we will focus on some of the misunderstandings associated with this disease. These myths examine the role of genetics, healing, transmission, and more. facts about the yellow guest, writes the website medicalnewstoday.com.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can also affect other organs. Symptoms include a chronic cough with bloody mucus, fever, and night sweats. Another common symptom is weight loss.
This is why people call tuberculosis a "consuming" disease. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another by coughing or sneezing. After transmission, the disease can progress in different ways depending on the response of the host's immune system.
Tuberculosis has affected humans for thousands of years and is still one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world. Every day about 4000 people die from the disease.
According to the World He alth Organization (WHO), the disease was responsible for 1.4 million deaths in 2019. Again, according to the WHO, the overall incidence of TB decreased by about 2% each year from 2015 to 2019
Due to the alarming rise of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, there is still a long way to go before scientists can eradicate this disease. Approximately 1 in 4 people worldwide have this infection. However, only 5-15% of people who carry the infection will develop symptoms in their lifetime. When someone has an infection but does not experience symptoms, they have a latent form of TB. Today, there is still a significant stigma surrounding yellow fever sufferers.
Myth 1. Everyone with tuberculosis is contagious
This is false. Someone with this disease can only transmit the infection if they develop symptoms. This means that people with a latent infection cannot pass it on to others. Also, a person can only transmit TB when the bacteria is in the lungs or throat. If the bacteria are in other parts of the body, such as the kidneys or spine, a person is unlikely to transmit the disease. People with TB generally stop being contagious about 2-3 weeks after starting treatment.
Myth 2. Tuberculosis is genetic
Although people believed that the infection was passed from parent to child, this is a myth. This misconception may have arisen because people living in the same household often develop the disease. We now know this is because their proximity makes it easier for the bacteria to spread from person to person.
However, there also appears to be a genetic component to TB transmission. Certain genes may influence whether a person will go from latent to active infection.
Myth 3. There is no cure for the disease
This is false - the infection is treatable. The most common treatment for latent tuberculosis infection is with the antibiotic isoniazid. People with tuberculosis should take this medicine once a day for 6-9 months. For people with an active infection, doctors tend to prescribe a combination of antibacterial drugs for 6-12 months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 10 drugs have been approved to treat the infection. People who have multidrug-resistant TB may need to take at least six drugs.
Myth 4. Yellow fever only affects people in low-income countries
This is a myth. Tuberculosis can affect people anywhere in the world. However, there are some regions where it is more common.
According to the WHO, in 2019, 44% of new TB cases occurred in Southeast Asia. Eight countries reported two-thirds of the cases: India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.
However, there were 8,916 cases of TB in the United States in 2019. There were 52,862 cases in Europe in 2018.
Myth 5. The disease is spread by shaking hands
TB is a serious disease, so people are understandably concerned about how it can spread. This has given rise to some myths. The disease cannot be spread by: shaking hands, sharing food or drink, touching bedding or toilet seats, kissing, sharing toothbrushes. The infection can only spread when someone with an active form of the disease in the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, talks or sings.
Myth 6. She is always fatal
This is not true. The infection can be fatal without treatment, but with modern medicine doctors can successfully cure it. On March 24, 1882, Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacteria responsible for causing tuberculosis. This discovery paves the way for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Almost 140 years later, the battle continues.