In February 2020, 1,987 new cases of tuberculosis were officially registered in Ukraine. In total, 18 647 people were treated for tuberculosis as of February. It should be noted that 23% of tuberculosis cases in Ukraine are noticed too late. Not only does this affect the outcome and duration of treatment, it also contributes to the spread of the disease.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. The disease has a chronic course. The lungs of the patient (pulmonary tuberculosis or pulmonary tuberculosis) are most often affected, and in the case of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis other organs can be affected, in particular, bones, skin, brain membranes, nervous system, kidneys, liver and others.
How does tuberculosis spread and what causes it?
Tuberculosis spreads from person to person through the air, through the air-dropping mechanism of transmission. This is mainly when individuals with an active (open) form of tuberculosis cough, sneeze, or spit, causing mycobacteria to get into the air. To get infected, only a small number of tuberculosis sticks are enough. The highest risk of contracting the patient is from family members, colleagues or health care providers who have been in contact with a patient with open tuberculosis for a long time.
Tuberculosis pathogen is quite stable in the environment: it can withstand drying for up to several weeks, heating to 100 degrees Celsius for 5-7 minutes. The tuberculosis wand under the influence of ultraviolet radiation (UFO) is destroyed.
What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
Symptoms of active (open) tuberculosis: persistent cough lasting more than 3 weeks; sputum contains traces of blood; chest pain; feeling of constant fatigue, weakness; loss of appetite; weight loss; night sweat (sweating); feverish 37-38 ° C or reduced temperature 35.5 ° C; chills; sensation of a laceration in the neck.
The course of the active phase of tuberculosis (open form) can be subacute (moderate) for many months. The dangerous consequence of such a subacute course of the disease is that the patients can delay the visit to the doctor, while at the same time spreading the bacterium to others, being contagious. People with active tuberculosis can infect from 5 to 15 people who are contacted during the year. Without appropriate treatment, about 45% of people without HIV-related immunodeficiency and almost all HIV-positive patients with tuberculosis die.
How is tuberculosis diagnosed?
In laboratory conditions, specimens of sputum from the lungs of the patient under a microscope determine whether mycobacterium tuberculosis is present. However, only half of tuberculosis cases can be recorded microscopically, and antibiotic resistance is not determined.
To diagnose tuberculosis, the following studies are also performed: fluorography (or radiological examination) of the chest; standard and specialized blood tests; laboratory examination of sputum of the patient; Mantoux test is a skin test for the presence of a specific immune response to mycobacterium tuberculosis by intra-cutaneous injection of tuberculin.
Is it possible to cure tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a treatable disease. Active drug-sensitive tuberculosis is treated with a standard 6-month (sometimes up to 9-month) course of 4 antimicrobials. It is important to follow the whole course of treatment. Otherwise, there is a high probability that the tuberculosis infection will not be completely cured and will return soon. If tuberculosis is left untreated, then mycobacterium may become resistant to the previously used medications and, accordingly, will become insensitive to subsequent treatment.
Tuberculosis is an infection that develops very rapidly and progresses primarily in a weakened body with low resistance, a weak immune system. That is why it is important to keep in mind the simple tips on eating healthy, being physically active, and seeking medical help promptly. However, such "simple" tips can save lives and preserve your health, and if properly treated, tuberculosis can almost always be cured.