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While we are all anxiously occupied in tracking the spread of corona virus across the globe, lets take our mind off it for a minute and talk about the deadliest infectious killer known to mankind. Tuberculosis kills 4000 people globally every day and 1.5 million annually, a figure that could amaze the latest novel virus too.  After decades of treatment and successful  vaccination strategy, we have still not been able to eliminate this disease from the planet. Let us know why.

The most important issue is lack of knowledge. Majority of the world population especially the poor, still lack the basic knowledge and awareness about this curable disease. And more importantly, little do people know that the government provides treatment of tuberculosis free of cost. Being literate and educated citizens, it is our prime duty to make the lesser fortunate people around us aware about this disease. We could start from our household maid to driver to gardener to watchman and spread the word. Let them know the symptoms so that they can identify them and consult a doctor in time to avoid delayed diagnosis and transmission of disease.

Common symptoms are cough, weight loss, night sweats, loss of weight and apetite and generalized fatigue and weakness. If the doctor suspects tuberculosis, he/she orders a chest X-ray and sends the patient’s sputum for detecting the presence of AFB (acid fast bacilli), the organism (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that causes tuberculosis. If undetected, he orders a couple of specialized blood tests like PCR, Quantiferon test to confirm the disease. Once confirmed, the patient is put on TB drug regime, according to his symptoms and the category he fits in.

The other important issue that we face in elimination of TB, is the rising drug resistance. Lately, the number of multidrug resistant and extensive drug resistant TB (MDR & XDR) has been on a rise. This happens due to improper, irregular and inappropriate use of TB treatment regime. Drug resistant tuberculosis can be prevented by taking complete treatment without missing any doses. The treatment should not be stopped until one is declared free from disease by the doctor. And most importantly, avoiding contact with people suffering from drug-resistant tuberculosis is necessary.

On world TB day, let us all pledge to make at least 5 people around us aware of the disease and eliminate tuberculosis from our nation. IT’S TIME TO END TB.

SMS/TWEET: COVID-19 killing 2000 people globally daily but this disease has been killing around 4000 people daily since decades. Click to know more

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