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Could it be Tuberculosis (TB)?

Managing TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly attacks the lungs. The disease is airborne and is spread by infected persons who cough, sneeze or spit. Both adult and children are vulnerable to TB.

Two TB-related conditions are known:

  • Latent TB where a person has a dormant infection, but has no symptoms or illness.
  • TB disease where the bacteria is active – common symptoms include a persistent cough, coughing up blood, weight loss, night sweats, high temperature, loss of appetite, tiredness and fatigue.

Following exposure to bacteria, a person may develop TB within weeks or they may have the bacteria for years without becoming ill. People with latent TB, may become ill if their immune system is weakened as a result of another health condition, such as HIV.

TB is treatable and curable. The normal treatment is a course of antibiotics. However, some TB is drug resistant and may require a longer and more complex course of treatment. If left untreated, TB can be fatal.

TB is very common in low resource settings and around half of all people with TB can be found in 8 countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and South Africa (source: WHO).

In low-resource settings, TB is often diagnosed and treated through screening of patients attending HIV clinics.

TB can cause long term damage to the lungs (e.g. bronchiectasis) and is a risk factor in longterm respiratory impairment including COPD.

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Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD) in Primary Care Settings

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