Tuberculosis: Immune System and National Tb Control

Topics: Tuberculosis, Immune system, Infection Pages: 2 (1264 words) Published: October 28, 2014

-114300-205105Running head: TUBERCULOSIS 1 00Running head: TUBERCULOSIS 1

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It affects the lungs mostly but can cause symptoms in your skin or other organs. TB is transmitted from coughs and sneezes where the bacterium is carried in the air. A third of the population of the world is infected with the tuberculosis bacterium but only one in 10 of these individuals will advance to developing the disease because of the body's immune system, which fights the infection, and destroys the germs once it is inhaled. When the immune systems successfully fights off the bacteria, a defensive shield is formed around it, and although the bacteria will stay in the body no symptoms will be present, this is called latent TB. If the immune system fails to destroy the bacteria the disease will infect the lungs first and then usually the glands that are part of the immune system. In the United States, a few populations are more susceptible to TB, the population at highest risk is the underprivileged. Low-income families and uninsured are among populations at risk. Worldwide, healthcare workers are at risk. The tuberculin skin test can be useful in diagnosing individuals who are not ill, the skin test is placed on the forearm and then read by a nurse or other trained professional in 48-72 hours. Positive skin tests are a sign that a person has had exposure to the tuberculosis germ. To detect active disease, further testing such as chest x-rays, blood tests, and sputum cultures need to be performed. Some of the testing can take several weeks to have results, which can cause treatment to be delayed. The majority of patients with either active or latent TB are treated with a combination of four antibiotic tablets for six months, which will kill the bacteria. TB can be cured with the treatment of antibiotics. Treating latent...

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