Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB)
Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs that can be spread through the air when a person speaks, coughs or sneezes. Also known as TB, symptoms of tuberculosis include fever, fatigue, chest pain and a severe, chronic cough. There are different types of TB, including active tuberculosis, and meningeal and milary TB, and doctors can screen for each of these types using the tuberculin skin test or the Mantoux test. Treatment of tuberculosis usually involves several types of antibiotics, and in rare cases, surgery.

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    Young children have weaker immune systems than adults do, so a child exposed to tuberculosis (TB) won't be able to fight off the infection as well. A healthy adult's immune system often forces TB bacteria into a dormant state that can last a lifetime without causing any illness, but a young child is more likely to get sick quickly. Rarely, TB bacteria may spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. However, remember that antibiotics can cure the vast majority of TB infections.

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    Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria can lie dormant in the body for weeks or even many years, causing no illness in 90 to 95 percent of infected people. However, in 5 to 10 percent of cases, the bacteria start to multiply and destroy tissue. Tuberculosis usually strikes the lungs, and eventually a hole can develop in the patient's lung. Air or fluid may accumulate between the chest wall and lungs, causing the patient to have chest pain and feel short of breath. In some cases, the bacteria may spread through the body and damage other organs. If not treated, tuberculosis can be fatal.

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    Active tuberculosis: Active or pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) can cause permanent lung damage when it is not diagnosed and treated early. Untreated active disease can also spread to other parts of the body where it can lead to serious or life-threatening complications. Individuals who think that they may have been exposed to TB or who have symptoms of TB should check with a doctor immediately.

    Meningeal and miliary TB: Meningeal TB, which occurs when TB infects the brain and central nervous system, and miliary TB,which occurs when TB bacteria spread throughout the entire body, are particularly dangerous forms of the disease. Children are especially susceptible to both meningeal TB and miliary TB.

    Recurrence: Recurrence, or the re-infection of TB bacteria, is the most serious complication of TB infection. The recurrence of TB after the initial infection can occur due to the development of drug-resistant strains of the disease in the individual's body.

    Increase in drug-resistant strains of TB: For each major TB medication, there is a TB strain (variant or slightly different TB bacterium than the normal) that resists its treatment. Even more dangerous are strains that are resistant to anti-TB drugs, such as rifampin (Rifadin) and isoniazid (Nydrazid), leading to a condition called multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Individuals with untreated MDR-TB are highly contagious and can transmit this serious type of TB to others, increasing the drug strains of TB that exist.

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    If you are experiencing symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), you should talk to your doctor. Symptoms such as a bad cough, night sweats, chest pain, or feeling short of breath can indicate active tuberculosis disease, which is contagious and can be fatal if not treated. The disease can develop weeks or even years after the initial infection, so even if you don't feel sick, you should get a tuberculosis test if you think you may have been exposed to someone with TB.

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    Latent tuberculosis (TB) infections do not produce any symptoms at all. In most individuals who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria and to stop the bacteria from growing and multiplying. The bacteria become inactive, but they remain alive in the body and can become active later. This is called latent TB infection. Individuals with latent TB infection have no symptoms, cannot spread TB to others, and may develop active TB disease if they do not receive treatment for latent TB infection. Many individuals who have latent TB infection never develop active TB disease.

    In people with weakened immune systems, such as is the case in patients with cancer and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the bacteria may become active and cause active TB disease. Individuals with latent TB usually have a positive skin test reaction or QuantiFERON-TB Gold test. Active TB mainly affects the lungs and is called pulmonary tuberculosis. Initially, coughing is often the only indication of infection. Signs and symptoms of active pulmonary TB include: a cough lasting three or more weeks that may produce discolored or bloody sputum; unintended weight loss (greater than ten pounds of body weight or more); fatigue or excessive tiredness; slight fever; night sweats; chills; loss of appetite; and pain when breathing or coughing.

    TB also can target almost any part of the body, including the joints, bones, urinary tract, central nervous system, muscles, bone marrow, and lymphatic system.

    When TB occurs outside the lungs, signs and symptoms vary, depending on the organs involved. TB can also spread through the entire body, attacking many organ systems at the same time.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



    For more information visit https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/
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    Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria - specifically, Mycobacterium tuberculosis - that spread through the air when someone with active tuberculosis sneezes, coughs, or talks. If you breathe in these bacteria and become infected, you may carry the bacteria without ever becoming sick; this is known as a latent tuberculosis infection. However, if your immune system can't fight the bacteria, you may develop active tuberculosis within weeks or even years of being exposed. Only people with active TB can spread the disease, and only through the air. Touching and kissing do not spread tuberculosis.

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    Your risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) is considered high if you belong to any of these groups:
    • Immigrants from countries where TB is widespread (most countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America)
    • Low-income populations that have limited medical services
    • Injection drug users
    • Residents of long-term care facilities (such as correctional institutions, mental institutions, and nursing homes)
    • Those who have conditions that increase the risk of TB
    • Alcoholics
    • Infants and children under 4 years of age
    Your risk of developing TB is considered very high if you belong to any of these groups:
    • Those infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) -- This group is 100 times more likely to develop active TB than those who have normal immune systems.
    • Those who have abnormal chest X-rays
    • Recent contacts of people infected with TB (including health workers)
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    Tuberculosis (TB) is preventable. Good ventilation can stop the spread of TB, which passes from person to person through the air. Hospitals quarantine contagious TB patients in rooms with separate ventilation systems, and they use ultraviolet light to sanitize the air. Healthcare workers may wear respirator masks to protect themselves.

    Even if you have been infected with TB bacteria, you can prevent the disease itself by taking certain antibiotics for several months. There is a tuberculosis vaccine, known as bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), but it is given mostly to children in developing nations where the risk of TB is high. The vaccine doesn't work well in adults, and it can cause false-positive tuberculosis tests later in life, so it isn't widely used in the United States.

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    Researchers in CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination and their partners in the TB Trials Consortium are at the forefront of the research that is striving to make the world free of TB (tuberculosis). They recently completed a 10-year study of an innovative preventive therapy regimen that will dramatically shorten treatment for persons with latent (inactive) TB infections. This course of preventive therapy is referred to as the 12-dose regimen and contains two very effective TB drugs, isoniazid and rifapentine. It is given once weekly for 12 weeks under directly observed therapy, which means that the swallowing of each dose of medicine is observed by a health worker.

    The concept of TB preventive therapy involves treating people who are infected with TB but who are not clinically ill. Doing so can prevent those infected persons from progressing to TB disease. Preventive therapy not only prevents disease and disability in that one person; it also prevents the spread of infection to others, some of whom would develop TB in the future and then spread the bacteria to their close contacts.

    The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.
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    If you have no symptoms but need to be screened routinely for tuberculosis (TB), you will have a tuberculin skin test. The most accurate, and currently the only test recommended in the United States, is the purified protein derivative (PPD) test (Mantoux test). A small amount of protein derived from the TB bacteria is injected under the skin, usually on the forearm. Two to three days later, the injection site is checked for "reactivity" -- swelling plus redness. Redness alone is not a positive test. A positive test indicates exposure to tuberculosis, but not necessarily active infection, since most people naturally control the infection. To determine if there is active infection, a chest X-ray is done. If the chest X-ray indicates possible active infection, further studies are done to try to isolate the tuberculosis infection for confirmation and cultures and to guide antibiotic treatment decisions. A negative X-ray indicates the infection has been naturally controlled, but it can recur. Therefore, antibiotic treatment to try to eradicate any bacteria remaining in the body may be tried, depending on your individual risks for disease and for treatment. All antibiotic treatments require at least six months to complete.

    Once a PPD test is positive, it stays positive for life. Repeated testing in PPD positive persons is not done, since it can lead to intensely uncomfortable skin reactions. Certain high-risk persons may require repeated skin testing or special concentrated tests (Second Strength PPD).