September 24, 2012
Tuberculosis is a communicable disease that affects a person’s lungs. Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium. Untreated TB can be fatal, in the past TB was the leading cause of death in the United States. There are two TB related conditions that exit: latent TB infection and Active TB infection. TB can be transmitted to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes. According to the “Center for Disease Control” (2010), "TB disease is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal” (CDC, 2010, para. 3). Much like the common cold, TB is spread by an infected person breathing, coughing, speaking, or sneezing into the air; however, not everyone who acquires TB has symptoms. Latent TB infection occurs when one breathes in the bacteria can fight off the infection. Persons with latent TB have no symptoms and are not contagious unless the bacterium becomes active in one’s body. Once the illness is active it becomes active TB, and the person will become sick. People who have weakened immune systems because of other illness are more susceptible to contracting active TB. According to the “CDC” (2010), “The general symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood. Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected” (CDC, 2010, para. 5). According to U.S. National Library of Medicine (2011), " The following factors may increase the rate of TB infection in a population: Increase in HIV infections, Increase in number of homeless people (poor environment and nutrition). In the...
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