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Tuberculosis is a deadly disease that kills more people worldwide than any other identified infectious disease. Tuberculosis has declined in the United States but it is still deadly and can not be ignored. The disease particularly infects people of racial and ethnic minorities, specifically Latinos and African Americans. There is treatment for TB but it is quite costly and must be administered for 6 ? 9 months depending on the patient. And if the proper treatment is not administered it increases the risk for the development of a drug-resistant TB.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the etiological agent of tuberculosis. It is an acid-fast bacterium that is transmitted through respiration. The infected person often coughs and produces infectious particles (droplet nuclei) to circulate in the air, and increase the risk for others. Tuberculosis is a disease that requires prolonged exposure before the infection will occur. So the people in most danger for contracting the disease are those who live in a household with someone infected or work closely with an infected person. Symptoms of tuberculosis are coughing for 3 or more weeks, fever, chills, night sweats, fatigue, anorexia, unexplained weigh loss, and hoarseness. If these things occur a Mantoux test should be administered, if it exceeds 10mm then it is positive. If the test is positive then the patient should get chest x-rays taken. Any patient that possibly has tuberculosis should be placed in isolation until it is confirmed if they are infected or not.
If the patient is positive for TB then they should be placed on a regimen of drugs, possibly two or more to decrease the risk of resistance. Some drugs that may be administered are rifampin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, cycloserine, and ofloxacin. These are only a few that may work. Patients can be released on self-administered therapy, and they usually receive Rifater. Some states provide free care for treatment of tuberculosis.
To reduce the risk of tuberculosis you should care for individuals with respiratory problems as if they are positive for TB. And people who are at high risk for developing TB should be given the appropriate drugs to help prevent it.
Boutotte, Janice M., Keeping TB in Check Nursing 99 vol. 29 March 34-39.
A small paper over Tuberculosis and how it kills and Spreads
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