What is tuberculosis?

What is tuberculosis? Tuberculosis is one of the most common disease that causes mortality worldwide. It is a multisystemic disease with myriad manifestation and presentations. In United States, the prevalence are decreasing. But it is increasing in many other parts of the world

World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that in 2009, there were 1,7 million people killed by tuberculosis. There are about 2 billion people have latent TB nowadays. Latent TB means the people with TB bacteria inside their bodies but the bacteria doesn’t cause disease because the bodies are strong enough to tackle the bacteria.

what is tuberculosisTuberculosis is caused by a tubercle bacillus, named Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is closely related with M. africanum, M. bovis, M. microti. And it is included in a group called Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.

Tuberculosis bacteria forms a rod in length between 2-4 microns, and width between 0,2-0,5 microns. It has been depicted under a high magnification of 15549 x, with electron micrograph. This is an obligate aerobic organism. It means it can only survive in an environment containing oxygen.

Even though, there is the advances in the treatment, actually tuberculosis still remains a global pandemic. Do you realize that one third of human population is currently infected with mycobacterium tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis affects not only lungs, but it can affect many part of the body such as bone, kidney, brain, gastrointestinal tract. It just attact the organ with high oxygen intake, because the characteristic of the bacteria that is obligate aerobic bacteria.

Tuberculosis is spread mostly through airborne droplets occurring when infected person sneezes, talks, or cough. So, you must always watch out to the tuberculosis patient near you. However, you actually need prolonged exposure with the infected individual before you may become infected.

There are two forms of Tuberculosis disease : Latent tuberculosis and Active tuberculosis.  Latent tuberculosis means there is tb bacteria remain alive within your body but inactive in this time. Your immune system can prevent the bacteria from growing.

Active tuberculosis means tb bacteria are growing withing the body causing signs and symptoms of infection such as chronic cough, fatigue, slight fever, loss of appetite, night sweat. Active tb is very contagious.

Penulis : dr. Amrizal Muchtar


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