Tuberculosis (TB) 27th March 2023 – Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuberculosis, which is a curable disease nowadays, continues to threaten our health. New cases and even deaths are still being reported. In 2021, around 1.6 million people died from TB, including 187,000 people who also have HIV. The disease still ranks as the 13th most common cause of death. Together with COVID-19 disease, it ranks as the most dangerous infectious disease.

Tuberculosis treatment

Tuberculosis or TB is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also attack other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, spine and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria gets sick. That is why there are two TB-related conditions: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

How is tuberculosis treated?

Treatment can be done on an outpatient basis, although respiratory isolation is required for at least the first two weeks.

First choice anti-TB drugs include isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol and streptomycin.

International infectious disease associations currently recommend starting treatment with three first-line antibiotics for 2 months, followed by two of them for an additional 4 months.

The most common treatment regimen is a combination of isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide for the first two months followed by isoniazid and rifampicin for a further four months. Depending on the case, a longer duration and more drugs may be necessary.

tuberculosis treatment
tuberculosis treatment

Symptoms of the disease:

Tuberculosis most commonly affects the lungs, although it can also affect other parts of the body.

The general symptoms of the disease are :

  • Lack of appetite and weight loss
  • fever
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue and general weakness

Symptoms of the disease after an attack on the lungs:

  • Persistent cough that does not go away after 3 weeks, usually with sputum in which blood can often be seen
  • Worsening respiratory problems

Tuberculosis meaning

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterium that almost always affects the lungs. It is spread from person to person through the air. Symptoms of active TB include cough, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. In healthy people, the infection usually does not cause symptoms, because the person’s immune system acts to block the bacteria.

Pathophysiology of the disease:

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the mycobacterium tuberculosis. Despite the attack of the body by this bacteria, not all infected people will develop a serious form of the disease, this is known as latent tuberculosis. During this state, the patient has the bacteria in the body, but they are in an inactive state, so there is no inflammatory reaction. During this stage, the patient also does not infect others. During the active version of the disease, the symptoms typical of tuberculosis emerge, as well as the possibility of infecting others. Infection can only be contracted through the airborne route.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Symptoms of attack outside the lungs:

TB most often attacks the lymph nodes, bones and joints, digestive system, bladder, reproductive system, brain and nerves. Symptoms include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain and difficulty moving an infected bone or joint
  • Disorientation
  • Persistent headache
  • Convulsions
Lung picture after Mycobacterium tuberculosis - mycobacterium tuberculosis infection
Lung picture after Mycobacterium tuberculosis - mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

Lung picture after mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

People who should mainly beware of infection:

  • Persons having long contact with a sick person
  • Living in crowded places
  • Patients with diabetes and AIDS
  • During treatment that weakens the immune system, e.g. chemotherapy
  • Very young or old people
  • People with poor health or poor diet
Diagnosis, investigation - Performance of a tuberculin test. Mantoux test
Diagnosis, investigation - Performance of a tuberculin test. Mantoux test


A number of tests are performed to obtain a diagnosis, depending on the site of the disease. Tuberculosis affecting the lungs is detected by a chest X-ray to note lesions associated with the disease. Another type of detection is to take a sputum sample to determine the bacterial content. Tuberculosis affecting other parts of the body is detected by CT test, MRI, endoscopy, laparoscopy, examination of a blood sample and by biopsy of infected tissue. The IGRA test – interferon gamma release assay – is used for blood testing. The disease can also be detected by tuberculin testing – a test that involves inducing an allergic reaction to tuberculin. Currently, the disease is treatable with appropriate antibiotics, although drug-resistant strains of bacteria are a growing threat.

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