Pulmonary tuberculosis(TB) is an infectious disease transmitted by air that affects the lungs. It is caused by a bacteria “Mycobacterium Tuberculosis” which is inhaled into the lungs. The bacteria attacks the lungs and produces spores (like chees) which eats up the lung tissues, thereby, damaging the lungs.
These are 3 common myth and facts of tuberculosis you should know of;
1. MYTH :Tuberculosis affects only people of lower socioeconomic status
FACT: tuberculosis can affect anyone and everyone. We’re all at risk of contacting tuberculosis. People of low socioeconomic status maybe at high risk due to poor nutrition, crowded space and poor immune status. However, tuberculosis crosses all age, gender and socioeconomic status.
2. MYTH: Tuberculosis is genetic. That is, can be transferred from mother to child
FACT: tuberculosis is not genetic. A mother cannot transmit it to her baby while still pregnant (that is, in utero) because TB cannot cross the placenta to the baby. However, a newborn baby may contact TB if proper care is not taken and he is not vaccinated with BCG (Bacille Calmette Guerin)
3. MYTH: Tuberculosis is not curable
FACT: Tuberculosis is curable. There are drugs used to treat TB and they are even available for free in some centres. However, non compliance to regimen may slow the rate of improvement. Treatment of tuberculosis is not overweight as regimen may take up to 9 months.
Cues To Action:
1. Report any case of coughing (dry or productive) that has exceeded 2 weeks
2. Report any case of frequent night sweats to the hospital
3. Ensure all newborns are vaccinated with BCG
4. Avoid staying in crowded spaces and cover mouth when coughing
5. Ensure adequate diet and compliance to medical care
Written by Tolulope Adepoju (RN, RM)