Epidemiology Essay on Tuberculosis

1735 Words Mar 17th, 2014 7 Pages
Epidemiology Paper on Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), also known as TB, is a disease spread by respiratory inhalation of droplets that contain the bacteria. Tuberculosis is an ancient disease that has been traced back at least 9000 years. In 1882, Dr. Robert Koch was the first physician to describe Mycobacterium tuberculosis as the germ responsible for tuberculosis. However, treatment that was evidenced based was not put into practice until the 20th century. It is estimated that 2 billion people around the world are infected with the TB bacteria. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of these infected people will actual develop active TB and experience the life-threatening symptoms of the disease. Tuberculosis
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(cdc.gov) Individuals with latent TB will have no symptoms of active disease and are not contagious. However, these same individuals can develop tuberculosis if they become immunocompromised, live in poverty, have poor nutrition or have other comorbidities. (Maurer & Smith, 2013) Diagnosing tuberculosis infection in individuals who are not ill is primarily done with a tuberculin skin test that is read by a healthcare worker in 48 to 72 hours. Positive skin tests are an indication that the individual has been exposed to the tuberculosis germ. Additional testing such as chest x-rays or sputum cultures are needed to detect active disease. Latent TB infection is treated with anti-tubercular medications for a period of six to nine months. Bacille-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is a vaccine used in many countries outside of the United States. However, individuals who have had this vaccine can still develop TB. (cdc.gov) Active disease is diagnosed with chest x-ray, skin or blood tests and sputum smears. Cat scans and MRI’s can also be used for diagnosing. Treatment for active non-resistant TB consists of the use of a two drug therapy, generally isoniazid and rifampicin. Cure rate for this strain of TB can be over 90%. Treatment for active TB is done for a minimum of six months. As a result of individuals incompletely finishing their recommended dose of anti-tubercular

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