Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The disease affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed annually on March 24. This day commemorates the announcement by Dr. Robert Koch in 1882 that he had identified the TB-causing bacterium, which paved the way for its detection and eventual treatment. The body's pulmonary system, or the lungs, are the organs most frequently affected by tuberculosis, but it can also harm other organs. This condition is known as extrapulmonary tuberculosis, and it can harm virtually every organ system in the body, including the blood, lymph nodes, the lining of the lungs (pleural TB), the brain and spinal cord (TB meningitis), bones and joints (musculoskeletal system), lymph nodes, and the abdomen.
The goal of World TB Day 2023, which will be observed with the theme "Yes! We can end TB!," is to promote optimism and high-level leadership in order to increase investments, hasten the adoption of new WHO recommendations, adopt innovations, speed up the pace of action, and foster multisectoral cooperation in the fight against the TB epidemic. This year is crucial because there will be chances to increase political commitment and visibility at the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on TB. In the run-up to the UN High-Level Meeting on TB in 2023, countries will be urged to make more progress. This will be the focus of World TB Day. WHO will also collaborate with partners to issue a call to action urging Member States to quicken the adoption of the new, shorter, all-oral treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB that are recommended by WHO.
According to health experts, tuberculosis has three phases: exposure, infection with latent tuberculosis, and clinical tuberculosis.
During the exposure phase, a person comes into contact with TB bacilli through the droplets of another person who has lung tuberculosis. However, the exposed person does not display any symptoms of the disease, and a normal chest X-ray would show no indications of the illness.
The second phase, infection with latent tuberculosis, occurs when a person has TB germs in their system, but the immune system protects the TB germs, and the person does not display any symptoms of the disease. The individual would have a positive skin or blood test for tuberculosis but a normal chest X-ray, showing no evidence of current infection in other regions of the body.
The final phase, clinical tuberculosis, is when an individual displays signs and symptoms of an active tuberculosis infection. The person may have a positive or negative skin or blood test for tuberculosis and a positive chest X-ray, sputum sample showing evidence of active TB or other result indicating current illness.
If not treated early or properly, tuberculosis can cause long-term and permanent lung damage, and it can also infect other parts of the body such as bones, vertebrae, the brain and spinal cord, lymph glands, and other bodily components. Tuberculosis can harm these regions, resulting in either short-term or long-term effects. Uncontrolled tuberculosis can be fatal, and it remains one of the biggest infectious causes of mortality globally.
In conclusion, it is essential to identify and treat tuberculosis in its early stages to prevent long-term and permanent damage and potentially fatal outcomes. Regular check-ups and screenings can help detect the disease early and prevent its spread. It is crucial to educate people about the phases of tuberculosis and its potential complications to help prevent its spread and encourage early treatment.