Transmission of TB is usually through the air. Active TB patients who cough or sneeze will splash mucus or other phlegm, which can also carry TB bacteria into the air. The air we breathe can also carry TB bacteria into our bodies.
Tuberculosis (also known as TB) is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis attacks the lungs most frequently. Tuberculosis can also attack other organs such as the spine , lymph nodes , skin, kidneys and the lining of your brain.
The TB disease cannot be transmitted by physical contact such as touching equipment or shaking hands. Moreover, tuberculosis is not transmitted by sharing food or drinks with people suffering from the disease.
How is TB transmitted
TB sufferers can spread germs from the phlegm by coughing and sneezing. A TB patient can produce around 3,000 phlegm splashes in one cough.
The TB bacteria can live in the air for hours, particularly if it is damp and dark. Transmission is most common in rooms that have sputum splashes for a prolonged period of time.
High-risk individuals are those who live or frequently meet someone with TB such as their family members, colleagues at work, or classmates.
TB transmission isn't as simple as you might think. However, not everyone who inhales TB bacteria-contaminated air will develop TB immediately.
Most bacteria inhaled does not cause illness and infect others. While the bacteria waits for the right time to infect, the bacteria remains in the body.
TB patients who have been on regular medication for at most 2 weeks have a low risk of passing the disease to others.
There are Several Phases to TB Infection
Two conditions can occur when someone breathes in TB bacteria-containing air: latent TB or active TB. Here is an explanation:
Latent phase is when a person has been exposed to TB bacteria. However, the bacteria does not stay in the body as the body's immune system is able to fight it well. Latent conditions are when the bacteria does not attack the body and there is no TB infection. You don't also experience any symptoms of TB disease, and you are not at risk of infecting other people.
Even so, bacteria can still activate and attack you at any moment, especially if your immune system is weak. People with compromised immune systems, or other medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS in, cancer, Malnutrition (malnutrition), and diabetes should consult a doctor if they are close to or have lived with someone with tuberculosis.
Active TB occurs when a person has already been diagnosed with TB. At this point, the TB bacteria is active in the body and the patient experiences symptoms of tuberculosis. This active TB patient is the one who can spread TB disease to others.
Active TB patients are advised to wear a mask and cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. They should also not spit in the open.
Active TB patients also need treatment. This treatment must be continued for at least six months. Failure to complete or stop treatment midway can lead to bacterial immunity. Also known as MDR TB.
How To Prevent TB
There are many ways to prevent TB.
- For people who are symptomatic or at high-risk of exposure, conduct TB examinations
- If you have been diagnosed as having latent TB or if you belong to a vulnerable population, get TB treatment before TB becomes active.
- To prevent bacteria from growing in the room, improve air circulation and the sun.
- Get BCG vaccination, especially for children or people at high risk of contracting tuberculosis.
TB transmission is not as simple as it appears. However, it is important to remain vigilant. The TB bacteria can be found in the air and is ready to strike at any moment.
Get enough sleep and eat nutritious foods to maintain a healthy immune system. Tuberculosis, and other diseases, will not be easily cured.
You should immediately see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms: severe weight loss, chronic coughing, bloody cough, or coughing for longer than 3 weeks.