Tuberculosis: what it is, types, main symptoms and transmission

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Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosispopularly known as Koch’s bacillus (BK), which enters the body through the upper airways and lodges in the lung or other parts of the body.

The symptoms of tuberculosis are usually related to the place where the bacteria are found, with respiratory symptoms such as a dry and bloody cough, chest pain and difficulty breathing being more common.

It is important that the person consults the infectious disease specialist or the general practitioner as soon as the first symptoms suggestive of tuberculosis appear, as this is how it is possible to start early treatment, which is usually done with a combination of antibiotics.

main symptoms

The symptoms of tuberculosis are mainly related to the development of the bacteria in the lungs, there may be a dry and persistent cough with or without blood, weight loss, chest pain when coughing and difficulty breathing.

However, when the bacteria develops in other organs, it is possible that other symptoms such as excessive tiredness, night sweats, fever and swelling where the bacteria are installed may appear. Learn about other symptoms of tuberculosis.

types of tuberculosis

According to the place where the tuberculosis bacteria settles and develops, tuberculosis can be classified into a few types, the main ones being:

  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis: It is the most common form of the disease and occurs due to the entry of the bacillus in the upper respiratory tract and accommodation in the lungs. This type of tuberculosis is characterized by a dry and constant cough with or without blood, with coughing being the main form of contagion, since the droplets of saliva released through coughing contain Koch’s bacilli, which can infect other people;
  • miliary tuberculosis: It is one of the most serious forms of tuberculosis and occurs when the bacillus enters the bloodstream and reaches all organs, with a risk of meningitis. In addition to the lung being severely affected, other organs can also be;
  • bone tuberculosis: Although not very common, it occurs when the bacillus manages to penetrate and develop in the bones, which can cause pain and inflammation, which is not always initially diagnosed and treated as tuberculosis;
  • ganglionic tuberculosis: It is caused by the entry of the bacillus into the lymphatic system, and may affect the nodes of the chest, groin, abdomen or, more often, the neck. This type of extrapulmonary tuberculosis is not contagious and curable when treated correctly;
  • pleural tuberculosis: It occurs when the bacillus affects the pleura, tissue that lines the lungs, causing intense difficulty in breathing. This type of extrapulmonary tuberculosis is not contagious, however it can be acquired by coming into contact with a person with pulmonary tuberculosis or be an evolution of pulmonary tuberculosis.

It is important that the type of tuberculosis is identified by the infectious disease specialist or general practitioner according to the symptoms presented by the person and the results of tests, as it is possible that the appropriate treatment can be initiated to combat the bacteria and, thus, prevent the development of the disease. disease and complications.

In the case of pulmonary tuberculosis, the diagnosis can be made by performing a chest x-ray and examination of the sputum with a search for the tuberculosis bacillus, also called AFB (Alcohol-Acid Resistant Bacillus) screening. To diagnose extrapulmonary tuberculosis, a biopsy of the affected tissue is recommended. A tuberculin skin test, also known as a skin test, can also be performed. mantoux or PPD, which is negative in 1/3 of patients. Understand how PPD is made.

Learn more about tuberculosis, types and how the diagnosis is made in the following video:

How does the transmission happen?

Tuberculosis can be transmitted through the air, from person to person through breathing in infected droplets released through coughing, sneezing or talking. Transmission can only happen if there is pulmonary involvement and up to 15 days after starting treatment.

People whose immune system is compromised by disease or age, who smoke and/or consume drugs are more likely to be infected by the tuberculosis bacillus and develop the disease.

The prevention of the most serious forms of tuberculosis can be done through the BCG vaccine in childhood. In addition, it is recommended to avoid closed, poorly ventilated places with little or no sun exposure, but it is essential to keep away from people diagnosed with tuberculosis. See how tuberculosis is transmitted and how to prevent it.

How is the treatment done?

The treatment for tuberculosis is free, and therefore, if the person suspects that he has the disease, he should go to the hospital or health center immediately. Treatment consists of the use of tuberculostatic-type drugs for about 6 consecutive months or according to the guidance of the pulmonologist. In general, the treatment regimen indicated for tuberculosis is a combination of Rifampicin, Isoniazid, Pyrazinamide and Ethambutol.

In the first 15 days of treatment, the person must be isolated, as he can still transmit the tuberculosis bacillus to other people. After this period, you can return to your normal routine and continue using the medicines. Understand how tuberculosis is treated.

Tuberculosis has a cure

Tuberculosis is curable when the treatment is done correctly according to the doctor’s recommendations. The treatment time is around 6 consecutive months, which means that even if the symptoms disappear in 1 week, the person should continue taking the medication until the 6 months are complete. If this does not happen, the tuberculosis bacillus may not be eliminated from the body and the disease may not be cured, in addition, there may be bacterial resistance, which makes treatment more difficult.

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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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