Myths and facts about tuberculosis in India
3 Min Read
World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed on March 24 every year to raise awareness about this deadly infectious disease that still poses a significant threat to global public health.
In 2021, the majority of TB deaths (82%) occurred in the WHO African and South-East Asia regions, with India alone accounting for 36% of these deaths. These regions also accounted for 82% of the total combined TB deaths in both HIV-negative and HIV-positive people, with India contributing to 32% of these deaths.
Among the global TB deaths in HIV-negative people, more men (54%) died than women (32%) or children (14%). Similarly, among the global TB deaths in HIV-positive people, more men (51%) died than women (38%) or children (11%) (WHO, 2022)*.
In this blog post, we will discuss some common myths and facts about tuberculosis that will help you understand this disease better and take the necessary precautions to prevent its spread.
Myth #1: TB only affects people with a weak immune system.
Fact: TB can affect anyone, regardless of their immune system strength. However, people with weak immune systems, such as those living with HIV, are at a higher risk of developing active TB disease.
Myth #2: TB only affects the lungs.
Fact: TB can affect any body part, including the lungs, spine, kidneys, and brain. However, pulmonary TB (TB of the lungs) is the most common form of TB.
Myth #3: TB is not contagious.
Fact: TB is highly contagious and spreads when someone who has it sneezes or coughs. However, not everyone who is exposed to TB will develop the disease.
Myth #4: TB can be cured with antibiotics.
Fact: TB can be cured with antibiotics, but the treatment can take several months to complete. It is crucial to complete the full course of treatment to prevent the development of drug-resistant TB.
Myth #5: TB only affects older people.
Fact: TB can affect people of all ages, but it’s more common in older adults.
Myth #6: TB is a disease of the past and is no longer a threat.
Fact: TB is still a significant threat to global public health and affects millions of people worldwide.
Myth #7: TB is only prevalent in developing countries.
Fact: TB is a global disease and affects people in both developed and developing countries, whether rich or poor.
Myth #8: TB can be transmitted through food or water.
Fact: TB is not transmitted through food or water. It is an airborne disease and spreads through the air.
Myth #9: TB is a genetic disease.
Fact: TB is not a genetic disease. It is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium.
Myth #10: TB cannot be prevented.
Fact: TB can be prevented by maintaining good hygiene practices, getting vaccinated with the BCG vaccine, and staying away from people with active TB disease. BCG Vaccine prevents serious complications of tuberculosis.
Myth #11: TB always causes symptoms.
Fact: Not everyone infected with TB will develop active TB disease or experience symptoms. This condition is called latent TB infection.
Myth #12: TB is a death sentence.
Fact: TB is curable with proper treatment, and most people who receive treatment fully recover. However, any delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to complications and even death.
When to see a doctor?
If you’ve been in contact with someone who has TB or has any TB symptoms, such as a persistent cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, chest pain, or coughing up blood, it’s important to see a doctor. This is especially true if you have a weakened immune system due to HIV infection, cancer treatment, or organ transplantation, as you may be at a higher risk of developing active TB disease.
Your doctor can conduct diagnostic tests to determine whether you have a TB infection or disease and provide appropriate treatment and follow-up care. Tests may include chest X-rays, blood tests, sputum samples, bronchoscopy, or a CT scan.
If you have any concerns about TB or any other health issues, it’s always a good idea to consult a physician for advice and treatment. At MFine, we offer up to 50% off on X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Same-day slots are available.
To conclude, understanding the myths and facts about tuberculosis is crucial in the fight against this deadly infectious disease. It is essential to get tested and treated for TB if you suspect that you may have been exposed to the bacteria. By taking preventive measures and seeking prompt medical attention, we can help reduce the burden of TB and improve global health.
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