What is Tuberculosis

Doctor: Dr Hassan


Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs. It is caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB can spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or sings. Approximately a quarter of the global population is affected by tuberculosis. Treatment involves antibacterial drugs targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and precautions are necessary to prevent its spread within communities.


To manage and prevent the spread of tuberculosis, several precautions are essential:

  • Early Detection and Treatment: Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial to prevent the spread of TB.
  • Isolation of Infected Individuals: Patients with active TB should be isolated until they are no longer contagious.
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensuring good ventilation in living and working spaces helps reduce the concentration of TB bacteria in the air.
  • Use of Masks: Infected individuals should wear masks to reduce the risk of transmitting TB to others.
  • Regular Screening: Regular TB screening, especially for those in high-risk groups, can help identify and treat the disease early.
  • Vaccination: The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can provide some protection against TB, particularly in children.


Common symptoms of tuberculosis include:

  • Persistent cough that lasts for more than three weeks
  • Coughing up blood or sputum
  • Chest pain, especially when breathing or coughing
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Fever and chills
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite


Treatment for tuberculosis typically involves:

  • Antibiotic Therapy: A combination of antibiotics is used over a period of 6 to 9 months. Common medications include isoniazid, rifampin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide.
  • Directly Observed Therapy (DOT): Healthcare providers may use DOT to ensure patients adhere to their medication regimen.
  • Supportive Care: Adequate nutrition and hydration, along with management of symptoms, are important for recovery.
  • Monitoring and Follow-up: Regular follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor the patient’s progress and adjust treatment if needed.
  • Treatment of Latent TB: For those with latent TB infection, a shorter course of antibiotics can prevent the development of active TB.


Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. The disease can be contracted through:

  • Airborne Transmission: Inhalation of airborne droplets containing the bacteria, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings.
  • Weakened Immune System: Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or malnutrition, are more susceptible to TB.
  • Close Contact: Living or working in close quarters with someone who has active TB increases the risk of infection.
  • Poor Living Conditions: Overcrowded and poorly ventilated living conditions facilitate the spread of TB.