World TB Day: Key facts about TB
The 28th World Tuberculosis Day fell on March 24. Let's learn some key facts about tuberculosis (TB) prevention and control.
What is tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a chronic infectious respiratory disease, and anyone could be infected.
TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
How TB spreads?
1. TB is a respiratory infectious disease, which is highly transmissible.
2. The TB bacteria can spread through air when a person with TB coughs, speaks loudly, or sneezes. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
3. Roommates, coworkers, family members or schoolmates of TB patients may be infected, and should be examined immediately after exposure.
4. People with HIV and those with weak immunity, diabetes, pneumoconiosis, and the elderly are all susceptible to TB, and should be screened for TB regularly.
Main symptom: A bad cough that lasts two weeks or longer
Others: Coughing up blood or sputum, low grade fever, night sweating, chest pain, fatigue, weakness and weight loss
The vast majority of TB patients can be cured, if they follow the prescribed treatment.
If TB patients don't get standard treatment, they may easily develop drug-resistant tuberculosis. Once this happens, it becomes very difficult to cure the patients and the cost will be much higher.
TB patients should avoid others and cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
TB patients should avoid spitting. Instead, they should spit out sputum in a spittoon covered with disinfectant. When that is inconvenient, they may spit sputum into a sterile wet paper towel or sealed sputum bag.
TB patients should avoid crowded places, and wear masks when going out.
TB patients who are treated at home should live in separate rooms from others, keep their rooms well-ventilated and wear masks to avoid infecting their family members.
Increasing nutrient intake and improving immunity is good for preventing tuberculosis.
Newborn BCG vaccination can prevent severe tuberculosis and tuberculous meningitis in children.