FAQ About Tuberculosis

  1. What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB is an infectious disease affecting the lungs. It is an airborne disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is classified into two; Latent TB & Active TB

In latent TB, the bacteria remain inactive in the body, causing no symptoms. In such cases, the condition is not contagious, although the bacteria can become active at a later stage.

Active TB is the commonly known form of TB in which the bacteria infect the lungs and begins to depict communicable symptoms.

TB mainly affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body including the brain and kidney.

 

  1. What are the symptoms of Tuberculosis?

The most commonly observed symptoms of Tuberculosis are;

  • A persistent cough
  • Constant fatigue
  • Coughing blood
  • Loss of appetite followed by weight loss
  • Fever
  • Pain in the chest
  • Night Sweats

 

  1. How is Tuberculosis diagnosed?

Tuberculosis is diagnosed through chest X-ray and sputum examination in case of the depiction of symptoms like a chronic cough, night sweats, weight loss etc. Your healthcare practitioner will inject a small amount of testing fluid into your skin and observe for any changes. If your skin shows any swelling, the results mean that you have chances of developing TB. However, this test is not very accurate, hence blood tests are also used in order to confirm if an individual has latent TB or active TB. The skin test is done only to check for latent TB.

 

  1. Who are at the risk of developing Tuberculosis?

Anyone who breathes in the infected air can become infected with Tuberculosis

  • Adults & children
  • Smokers
  • People with health conditions like chronic kidney disorders/diabetes
  • Patients on immunosuppressive drug
  • Those who have undergone a transplant
  • Cancer patients undergoing dialysis

 

  1. What happens if Tuberculosis is left untreated?

If left untreated, TB can become extremely fatal. The bacteria can spread from the lungs to various other parts of the body, if detection or treatment is delayed. Tuberculosis, is in fact one of the leading of causes of death around the world.

 

  1. Is there a vaccination for Tuberculosis? Is it effective?

The BCG vaccine, to a great extent provides protection against severe forms of Tuberculosis, and its efficiency ranges per 0-80%.

 

  1. Where does UAE stand in this scenario?

The current situation in the UAE does pose a challenge, since various new cases of tuberculosis are being detected.  This is majorly because of the latent cases of Tuberculosis which have become activated. In other cases, patients more often develop the condition when they travel to their home country.

 

  1. What happens if a person is diagnosed with Tuberculosis in the UAE?

If an individual is diagnosed with TB once they are in the country but without being employed at the time of detection, they are deported and sent back to their country of origin. In cases where people have a visa to reside in the UAE and are currently employed here, and later develop TB, they are not deported. In such cases, they are referred to a government hospital for the necessary treatment.

 

  1. Is Tuberculosis curable?

Tuberculosis can be cured if diagnosed and treated at an early stage. Once diagnosed the treatment of TB is for 6 months, although in cases where the condition is severe, it may even take up to 9 months. TB can be cured if the full course of treatment is completed without interruption. If the course of treatment is interrupted, the condition may become difficult to treat later on even making it impossible to cure sometimes.

 

  1. Is it possible for a person to develop Tuberculosis for the second time, even after completing the course of treatment effectively the first time?

There are very low chances of an individual developing TB for the second time. However, if any symptoms begin to manifest, ensure to consult with a specialist.

 

 

 

Dr. Mrinal Ashok Raiker

Specialist Pulmonologist

Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai (AJMC)

 

 

 

 

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