Tuberculosis and Tb Treatment Program

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Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a germ (bacterium) called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This germ primarily affects the lungs and may infect anyone at any age. In the United States, the number of TB cases steadily decreased until 1986 when an increase was noted; TB has continued to rise since. Today, ten million individuals are infected in the U.S., as evidenced by positive skin tests, with approximately 26,000 new cases of active disease each year. The increase in TB cases is related to HIV/AIDS, homelessness, drug abuse and immigration of persons with active infections. How is TB Contracted? TB is a contagious or infectious disease that is spread from person-to- person. A person is usually infected by…show more content…
Since the advent of anti-tuberculosis drugs in the 1940s, the treatment of drug susceptible tuberculosis has become highly effective if administered and taken properly. Treatment no longer requires prolonged hospital stays. In many cases, a patient with a new case of TB can be treated at home. Others will enter the hospital to be placed on a medication program and to be isolated until the disease is controlled. When the person is no longer infectious, he or she can leave the hospital and continue on medication at home. Hospitalization in such cases may be a few weeks to several months depending on the severity of the disease and the effectiveness of the treatment program. In most cases, a treatment program for drug-susceptible TB involves taking two or four drugs for a period of time ranging from six to nine months. Medications may include isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol or streptomycin. It is necessary to take multiple drugs and to take all of the doses prescribed, because all of the TB germs cannot be destroyed by one drug. It is important to realize that hospitalization for a TB patient, when necessary, represents only the beginning of treatment. Since active TB is slow to respond completely to therapy, medications prescribed by a clinician must be taken faithfully for a long period of time (at least 6 months, in some cases for a year or more). If the TB medications are not taken regularly, serious complications may develop:
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