Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB)

Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB): What is it?

Pulmonary Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It mostly affects the lungs, but can also spread to other parts of the body. TB is dangerous because it is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. While TB is treatable and preventable, its treatment is lengthy and complex, and it remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

What are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB)?

The most common symptom of TB is a cough that lasts for more than two weeks. Other symptoms may include chest pain, coughing up blood, weight loss, fatigue, chills, fever, and night sweats. TB can also cause other symptoms depending on which organs are affected.

How is Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) Diagnosed?

Diagnosing TB requires a combination of tests, including:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Sputum culture and sensitivity testing
  • Tissue biopsy
  • Blood tests

What are the Treatment and Prevention Options?

Most cases of TB can be treated with antibiotics. Patients can be prescribed three different antibiotics for up to six months. Depending on the severity of the infection, some patients may need to stay in a hospital for more intensive treatment. Treatment for TB must be completed in its entirety in order to prevent the emergence of antibiotic-resistant TB strains.

Preventing the spread of TB is possible through early detection and treatment, regular medical check-ups, and vaccination. Vaccination is recommended for people at high risk of TB, such as those with compromised immune systems.