October 22, 2013
TB is a preventable and curable disease if found and treated early. It has a low prevalence in developed countries including the United Kingdom and the United States. This means that people living in these countries and areas with low prevalence do not need to take precautions to avoid infection. However, a few preventive measures are suggested for those who live or travel in areas and countries with a high prevalence of infection.
Bacillus vaccination (BCG) Calmette-Guerin may protect against tuberculosis. The BCG vaccine is given to all children in countries where the disease is prevalent. In countries like the UK where it is less common it is given to those who are in danger.
That before the vaccine is given, the person is given a Mantoux skin test to check for latent tuberculosis. Vaccination is not recommended for people with latent TB.
Who is it for the BCG vaccine recommended?
Currently, the BCG vaccination is recommended for three main groups of people. One of these babies are born in areas where rates of tuberculosis are high and these babies with one or more parents or grandparents were born in countries with a high rate of TB. The Mantoux skin test is not required in advance while giving BCG vaccine to a baby.
Another group that needs the BCG vaccine include children under the age of 16 who have one or more parents or grandparents were born in countries with a high rate of tuberculosis and were not vaccinated as babies. Children below 16 who have been in close contact with someone with TB, or have lived for at least three months in a country with a high rate of tuberculosis are also vaccinated with BCG after obtaining Mantoux test.
Preventing transmission of the infection
Those with pulmonary TB are infectious until about two to three weeks after their treatment has begun. Earlier these patients were isolated. Today isolation is not practiced but a few precautions are important to prevent the spread. These include: -
Isolation in workplaces, schools and university areas with crowds.
Covered with a mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
Adequate and careful disposal of tissues. Usually burning or disposal in sealed plastic bags is recommended.
Sharing racks and rooms with uninfected persons while sleeping should be avoided.