Tuberculosis Essay

Among us today there are thousands of diseases out in the world, most are
curable, some don’t even have names. Well by the end of this paper you should
learn about one more disease called Tuberculosis that will help you understand
more about the infectious agents that threaten our lives today and how to
control them, especially Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is the increasingly
spreading disease in the world and causes more deaths today then ever before. (
www. TB Global Emergency)) It kills 8,000 people a day
that is 2-3 million people a year. It has surpassed the Aids community overall
and is responsible for more deaths among the young and adults in the world
today. ( www. TB Global Emergency)) To find out why
Tuberculosis is causing all these problems you have to go to the source and find
out what it is. Tuberculosis (TB), chronic or acute bacterial infection that
primarily attacks the lungs. Tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium
Mycobacterium tuberculosis. (AMA) Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a bacteria that
is an obligate aerobe, rod shaped, acid fast, that has a characteristic mycolic
acid cell wall. Generation time (time to create two bacteria from one) 18-24
hours Diagnostic test – PPD skin test, and x-rays. (Merck’s Manual) Tuberculosis
is a disease that can damage a person’s lungs and causes serious illness. TB is
usually transmitted by bacteria-carrying air droplets that are released when a
person sick with TB coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Inhaled bacteria lodge in the
lungs and multiply. Only 5 to 10 percent of those infected actually become sick.

Once it is contracted, the disease can occur in a primary and a secondary stage.

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(AMA) When this occurs is causes the two stages of TB. The Primary TB produces
no noticeable symptoms. Immune system cells ingest the TB bacteria and transport
them to the lymph nodes where they may be destroyed or inhibited. TB is not
contagious in the early stage. If the bacteria multiply, then active primary
tuberculosis develops. Symptoms include coughing, night sweats, weight loss, and
fever. If the bacteria are inhibited, the immune cells form a wall around
inactive bacteria, producing a tubercle. As long as the immune system remains
strong, the TB bacteria are inactive, and they may remain dormant for many
years. If the immune system becomes weakened, the tubercle opens, and the
infection may develop into secondary TB. (AMA) In secondary TB, bacteria destroy
tissue in the lungs and may spread to the rest of the body. Fluid or air may
collect between the lungs and the lining of the lungs, while tubercles continue
to develop, destroying lung tissue. Coughing of blood or phlegm may occur. At
this secondary stage, carriers of TB can infect others. (AMA) So how big of a
problem is Tuberculosis? In 1993, the World health Organization (WHO) took an
unprecedented step and declared tuberculosis a global emergency, so great was
the concern about the modern TB epidemic. It is estimated that between now and
2020, nearly one billion more people will be newly infected, 200 million people
will get sick, and 70 million will die from TB – if control is not strengthened.

People with the active disease left untreated, will infect on average between 10
and 15 people in each year. Someone in the world is newly infected with TB every
second. Nearly one percent of the world’s population is infected with TB each
year. ( Why isn’t it such a big deal? Why, don’t we
hear about it in the United States everyday? The problem is that most of the
world’s population that is infected with the TB disease are stationed in the
poor societies of the world. For instance the worlds biggest Tuberculosis
outbreak is in poor countries like India, and small African countries. These are
the countries that hold the most population and a disease outbreak in one of
them will spread with no control cause they have no technology to help cure them
or knowledge to stop the spreading of the deadly disease. TB kills 2 to 3
million people each year. TB accounts for more than one-quarter of all
preventable adult deaths in developing countries. 7 to 8 million people around
the world become sick with TB each year. Between 1993 and 1996 there was a 13
percent increase in TB cases worldwide. Nearly 2 million TB cases per year occur
in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 3 million TB cases per year occur in Southeast
Asia. Over a quarter of a million TB cases per year occur in Eastern Europe. (
When a country of large magnitude gets infected how do they stop the cure? The
answer is through industrialized countries like us. TB treatment costs around US
$2,000 per patient, but rises more than 100-fold to up to US $250,000 per
patient with MDR-TB. (MDR-TB is the multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains, defined
as resistant to the two most important drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin) This
goes through us the taxpayers or smaller organizations like the D.O.T.S.

(Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course). D.O.T.S produces cure rates of up
to 95 percent even in the poorest countries. D.O.T.S prevents new infections and
the development of MDR-TB. There effective procedure is to health and community
workers and trained volunteers observe and record patients swallowing the
correct dosage of anti-TB medicines for six to eight months. The most common
anti-TB drugs are isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, streptomycin and
ethambutol. ( The problem is funding and without it
D.O.T.S can’t stop the disease from spreading. Other techniques in curing the
disease are in the Alternative Medicine. Countries back east are curing TB by
herbalism, using antipyretics or febrifuges, herbs use to fight pathogens. Other
treatments used are Naturopathy, which is the orthodox treatment of dieting on
fresh fruits, limiting diary products. (Alternative Healthcare) These orthodox
treatments can cause a cure but if not taken correctly with a doctor’s
permission can cause severe illness. In conclusion we all know how serious
Tuberculosis is and at the same time we are neglectful in our awareness of other
potentially lethal pathogens that are out there. We are smart enough to
recognize what is out there, how Tuberculosis is transmitted and how it is
possible to prevent this measure of Tuberculosis disease from spreading and
keeping us healthy and free from the TB disease.


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