Have you been listening to the local news and hearing the scary reports of the Tuberculosis outbreak in Ennis schools? I have and it seems like it just keeps growing. I do not know anyone in the school district or community, but my thoughts are definitely with the school system, families, local government, medical staffs and everyone that is being affected by this.
Rather than reporting on or discussing the events that have unfolded – since I have no first hand knowledge of the facts, I thought I would bring us up to speed on what exactly Tuberculosis is. I have What do you know about Tuberculosis or “TB” and do you feel you are properly informed on what it is and the signs and symptoms are? Personally, until this recent headline, I myself didn’t know enough about it or what I should know being the mother of three children.
Tuberculosis (also known as “TB”) is caused by a type of bacteria or bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
How do you get Tuberculosis?
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain. TB in the lungs or throat can be infectious. This means that the bacteria can be spread to other people. TB in other parts of the body, such as the kidney or spine, is usually not infectious. People with active TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This includes family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates.
What are the symptoms of Tuberculosis?
The general symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of Tuberculosis of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood. Symptoms of Tuberculosis in other parts of the body depend on the area affected. People with active TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This includes family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates.
What is latent TB infection?
You can breathe in the TB bacteria, become infected and may quite possibly never know it – that is because your body is able to fight the bacteria to stop it from growing. The bacteria become inactive, but may remain alive in the body and it can become active later.This is called latent TB infection.
The majority of people who have latent TB infection never develop active TB disease. The TB bacteria can remain inactive for a lifetime and not cause the disease – but in weak immune systems the bacteria become active, will multiply and cause active TB disease.
What is active TB disease?
TB bacteria become active if the body’s immune system can not stop them from growing. The bacteria then attacks the body and eventually destroys tissue. If the bacteria reaches the lung, they can create a whole in the lung. Some people develop active TB disease soon after becoming infected (within weeks) before their immune system can fight the TB bacteria. Other people may get sick years later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason.
The following chart was found on the CDC website and is a good demonstration of the symptoms between the two types of TB .
|A Person with Latent TB Infection||A Person with Active TB Disease|
|¢ Does not feel sick||¢ Usually feels sick|
|¢ Has no symptoms|| ¢ Has symptoms that may include:
– a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
– pain in the chest
– coughing up blood or sputum
– weakness or fatigue
– weight loss
– no appetite
– sweating at night
|¢ Cannot spread TB bacteria to others||¢ May spread TB bacteria to others|
|¢ Usually has a positive skin test or positive TB blood test||¢ Usually has a positive skin test or positive TB blood test|
|¢ Has a normal chest x-ray and a negative sputum smear||¢ May have an abnormal chest x-ray, or positive sputum smear or culture|
|¢ Should consider treatment for latent TB infection to prevent active TB disease||¢ Needs treatment for active TB disease|
Austin, TX 78756
Kids Health.org http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/bacterial_viral/tuberculosis.html. Reviewed by: Joel Klein, MD. Date reviewed: November 2010. Originally reviewed by: Cecilia DiPentima, MD
The33TV.com http://www.the33tv.com/news/kdaf-health-officials-conduct-tuberculosis-investigation-at-ennis-high-school-20110926,0,2662832.story. Nicole Cunningham and Doug Magditch CW 33 News. 12:02 p.m. CDT, September 26, 2011