Tuberculosis Definition

Tuberculosis Definition – The TB is a contagious disease that usually attacks the lungs , but sometimes also to other parts of the body such as the kidneys, lymph nodes and bones. In the past, tuberculosis was often fatal and gave him the name “consumption”. Nowadays, treatment with antibiotics allows to heal.

For most healthy people, the risk of contracting TB is low. In Canada, it is reported about 1,600 new cases of tuberculosis every year, which is significantly less than at the beginning of the XX th century, when it was one of the main causes of death in the country 5 . Although the disease is less common than it was, it remains an important public health problem in many parts of the world , killing 1.4 million people in 2010.

It is March 24, 1882 the German physician Robert Koch isolated the tubercle bacillus (or Mycobacterium tuberculosis ), the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis and who cohabits with humans for millions of years. This discovery won him the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1905. The day of March 24, has also been declared World TB Day by the World Health Organization (WHO).

There are 3 types of tuberculosis.

The pulmonary tuberculosis or phthisis . This is the most common form of tuberculosis (70% of cases). Bacteria destroy lung tissue, thereby creating the cavities. The disease remains localized in the lungs;
The extrapulmonary tuberculosis . In this case, the bacteria attack other parts of the body, such as bone, kidney, lymph nodes, brain or central nervous system. Extrapulmonary TB or not accompanied by pulmonary tuberculosis;
The disseminated or miliary TB (like millet seeds scattered throughout the lung, giving it a characteristic appearance). The bacteria spread through the bloodstream and attack the whole body. It is therefore of pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis.
Some facts about the transmission of tuberculosis:

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by droplets of saliva that become suspended in the air when a person coughs, sneezes, sings or plays a wind instrument, not involving an infectious person;
It usually takes repeated contact or extended with an infectious person to be infected;
Only people who have symptoms are contagious;
A contagious person following a treatment drug is no longer contagious after two or three weeks of treatment.


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