March 24 every year is observed as World Tuberculosis Day and is the occasion to raise awareness about the disease. The annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes TB.
The theme of World TB Day 2023 by the United Nations is 'Yes! We can end TB' and it aims to put efforts to eliminate the disease.
Is TB fully curable?
One of the concerning questions of family members and individuals suffering from the disease is whether TB is fully curable or reversible. Commenting on this, Dr Nimish Shah, a pulmonologist with Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre says, "The infectious disease is of different types while drug-susceptible tuberculosis is fully curable." "Unfortunately, the bacteria causing the disease have evolved leading to resistant TB in patients. Even in such cases, if the individual is compliant with the provided care and treatment, success rates are good," he adds.
Are you at risk of contracting TB?
A cough and irritated nose aren't the only signs of worry. Experts suggest that even if the disease spreads easily and is airborne, one need not panic or speculate about having TB after a gentle cough or the resulting pain. Consulting a doctor is recommended at such times to get a proper report.
However, the chances of getting infected increase with certain health conditions and settings. "If one is immuno-compromised and has an HIV infection, it makes the individual prone to tuberculosis disease. Also, poorly controlled diabetes can increase the risk of contracting the ailment," says the doctor while stating that the infection is mainly spread via cough or spit or a patient.
Apart from health challenges, poor ventilation in highly populated areas can pose threat to contracting TB as the air might have infectious particles released by a patient. Thus, medical experts advice the use of face masks and sanitisers in such places to ensure safety.
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