The goal of World Tuberculosis Day, held every year on March 24, is to prevent it and improve its detection, treatment and it recovery process through research and innovation.
On this date in 1882, Dr. Robert Koch discovered tubercle bacillus, the first window to understanding how the disease works. This condition generally affects the lungs, but can also impact any organ in the human body.
With pulmonary tuberculosis, an infection is transmitted to people through the air. As the World Health Organization (WHO) explains, when an infected person coughs, sneezes or emits saliva, they release tubercle bacilli in the air and all it takes is someone to inhale it to become infected.
Those who are infected have a 10% chance of becoming ill with tuberculosis throughout their life. However, this risk is much greater among those with HIV, tobacco users, and among people who are malnourished or that have diabetes.
Be aware of the warning signs
People with active tuberculosis can experience symptoms such as coughing, fever, night sweats and weight loss. It is important to be aware of these warning signs because if they are ignored and medical attention is not sought in time, the patient can be a risk to society by transmitting the condition to others.
Treatment for it is based on a standard combination of four medications administered over a period of six months, and it should be accompanied by patient monitoring and care. Not having this support can be a risk to a patient’s compliance with treatment, which can cause the disease to further spread. Most cases are curable as long as the medication needed is available and is taken correctly.
It is estimated that about 79 million lives were saved between the year 2000 and 2015 due to diagnostic testing and tuberculosis treatment.