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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

World Tuberculosis Day 2022: Understanding Tuberculosis Symptoms, Causes

The World Health Organization (WHO) commemorated World Tuberculosis Day 2022 today, Thursday, March 24. 

World TB Day is commemorated on March 24 each year to improve public awareness and understanding of one of the world’s deadliest infectious illnesses, as well as its catastrophic health, social, and economic implications. 

This year’s theme, “Spend to Eliminate TB. Save Lives,” stresses the urgent need to invest the resources needed to ratchet up the battle against TB and fulfill global leaders’ promises to end TB. 

Key facts by World Health Organization 

“A total of 1.5 million people died from TB in 2020 (including 214 000 people with HIV). Worldwide, TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19 (above HIV/AIDS)”. 

“In 2020, an estimated 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis (TB) worldwide. 5.6 million men, 3.3 million women and 1.1 million children. TB is present in all countries and age groups. But TB is curable and preventable”. 

“In 2020, 1.1 million children fell ill with TB globally. Child and adolescent TB is often overlooked by health providers and can be difficult to diagnose and treat”. 

“At the UN High-Level Meeting on TB in 2108, world leaders agreed to mobilize US$13 billion per year to finance TB prevention and treatment by 2022 and promised another US$2 billion per year for TB research in the face of growing concerns around drug-resistant TB”. 

“However, funding for TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment services continues to fall far short of estimated global needs, and the United Nations global target. In 2020, global spending on TB services fell to US$5.3 billion, and funding for research was US$901 million.

While national strategic plans and accompanying budgets for tuberculosis have grown in ambition, mobilization of funding has not kept pace”. 

“In Africa, governments contribute only 22% of the resources required to deliver adequate TB services, with 44% going unfunded, seriously impeding efforts to reduce the TB burden”. 

Causes of Tuberculosis 

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. Tuberculosis may be treated and avoided. 

Tuberculosis (TB) is transmitted from person to person through the air. People with lung TB spread the TB germs into the air when they cough, sneeze, or spit.

In order to get infected, a person only has to breathe a few of these bacteria. 

People who are infected with tuberculosis germs have a 5–10 percent lifetime chance of contracting the disease. People with weakened immune systems, such as those living with HIV, malnutrition, or diabetes, or those who smoke, are more likely to become sick.  

Other Common causes 

Shaking hands 

Using a toilet 

Sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils 

Touching other surfaces 

Symptoms of Tuberculosis 

When a person develops active TB disease, the symptoms (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) may be mild for many months. 

This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of bacteria to others. People with active TB can infect 5–15 other people through close contact over the course of a year.

Without proper treatment, 45% of HIV-negative people with TB on average and nearly all HIV-positive people with TB will die. 

Coughing 

Coughing up blood or phlegm 

Chest pain 

Trouble breathing 

Loss of weight and appetite 

Night sweats 

Intermittent fever 

Generalized body aches 

Fatigue 

Historical facts you need to know about Tuberculosis 

The organism that causes tuberculosis has been found in relics from ancient Egypt, India, and China. Researchers have discovered tubercular decay in the spines of Egyptian mummies dating back to 3000-2400 BC. 

In the Middle Ages, it was termed the “king’s evil.” In 18th-century Western Europe, where the disease was at its peak, it was called the “white plague.” Tuberculosis has also been called “consumption,” because of the way the infection appeared to consume the patient. Folklore even associated the disease with vampires. 

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