Tuberculosis (phthisis) is a contagious disease most commonly occurring in the lungs, though it may occur in any other part of the body as well. Pulmonary tuberculosis may cause complaints like coughing, hemoptysis, fever, weight loss and night sweating. It should definitely be considered in case of long-lasting persistent coughs. In line with recent recommendations of World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant preventive methods, contagion of this disease has been relatively taken under control in our country. Nevertheless tuberculosis still poses a severe threat for public health.
Diagnosis can be attained by detecting tuberculosis microbe in phlegm or affected organs. As drug-resistance is a serious problem with tuberculosis, samples should also be evaluated for microbial resistance to medication. This will ensure effective treatment with medication that has actual potency over the microbe, configuring term of therapy accordingly.
Tuberculosis treatment typically comprises intense medication therapy during the first 2 months and maintenance therapy with less amount of medication for the next 4 months. Up to 10 different drugs may need to be taken daily for the duration of intense therapy. Sustaining therapy without interruption and taking prescribed medication regularly and without skipping doses matter substantially for complete recovery and prevention of microbes from developing drug resistance. Treatment may be reconfigured after analyzing phlegm samples during the course of therapy and finding out whether microbial count has regressed or not. Reduction in coughs, weight gain, improved chest x-ray findings and lack of microbes in phlegm samples all suggest positive response to treatment. It should still be noted that chest x-ray findings might not be entirely normal and traces of disease may remain throughout the patient’s lifetime even after complete recovery.
Due to the fact that tuberculosis is a contagious disease, screening the patient’s family and immediate circles for disease is of utmost importance in order to diagnose infected individuals early on. At the same time anti-tuberculosis medication should be administered on younger children, youngsters and individuals with weaker immune systems who are close the patient. Tuberculosis is a prominent public health issue in our country, and should thus be countered with preventive measures including early diagnosis and treatment and screening.