World TB Day, falling on March 24th each year, is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. It commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. At the time of Koch's announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through the world, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch's discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB and the discovery won him the Nobel Prize in 1905.
Tuberculosis is a common infectious disease caused by bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis which affects the lungs. Main symptoms of TB are severe cough that lasts for three weeks or longer, bloody or discoloured sputum, night sweats, fever, fatigue and weakness, pain in the chest, loss of appetite, and pain during breathing or coughing.
India has the highest total number of TB cases worldwide partly due to poor disease management by the healthcare sector. TB can be prevented by vaccination and maintaining high levels of hygiene. Once infected, the patient should follow the medication regimen properly. By not doing so, there are chances of developing resistance to anti-TB drugs resulting in an aggressive form of TB.
To avoid getting an active TB infection:
Eat healthy and take care of your hygiene.
Do not spend long periods of time in stuffy, enclosed rooms with anyone who has active TB until that person has been treated for at least 2 weeks.
Use protective measures, such as face masks, if you work in a facility that cares for people who have untreated TB.
If you live with someone who has active TB, help and encourage the person to follow treatment instructions.
Do not neglect symptoms of TB. It can be easily tested and cured. Please study the attached posters.