Tuberculosis (also known as TB) is a bacterial infection that is most often found residing in the lungs. This bacterial infection is transmitted through the air which makes Tuberculosis VERY CONTAGIOUS. I recently found out that in prison, if you are interested in handling food, you must take a TB test. What’s so terrifying about that you might ask? In the few years I spent in food service, I was not asked for any documentation regarding a negative Tuberculosis test. To avoid a nervous breakdown (or possibly an existential crisis) feel free to read more facts and information regarding Tuberculosis, a fatal if not treated bacteria.
1.) Widespread – According to WebMD, Tuberculosis was once a widespread disease until the 1950’s when antibiotics were developed to stop the outbreak. This only made Tuberculosis come back stronger and in new forms which make it harder to attack with antibiotics which makes getting tested very important. Even in prison carriers of the TB bacteria are quarantined away from other prisoners to avoid outbreak due to close living situations and possible exposure.
2.) Latent Infection – Tuberculosis can already reside in someone’s lungs without their knowledge. This is called latent Tuberculosis infection. The carrier may be completely unaware of their status and spreading the bacteria causing an outbreak. Living in larger cities makes Tuberculosis more prevalent due to the fact of how fast the bacteria can spread to to being transmitted though the air (talking, coughing, ect.) which only solidifies the rule of not talking to strangers.
3.) Symptoms – MedlinePlus states the symptoms to look for include a bad cough lasting 3 weeks or longer, weakness, coughing blood, no appetite, fever, chills, pain in chest, or weight loss. If you suffer any of these for an extended amount of time do yourself a favor and get checked out for the sake of everyone around you. Numbers have grow significantly since 2013 so being aware of your status is very important.
4.) Risks – Risk or situations that may have put you at risk include having an HIV infection, having being infected with Tuberculosis in the past two years, having other health problems such as diabetes that make it hard for the body to fight bacteria, alcohol abuse/using illegal drugs, and not being correctly tested for Tuberculosis in the past. These risk factors are what to consider if you may think you have Tuberculosis.
5.) Not Spread Through… Sleep easy, as Tuberculosis is NOT spread through sharing food/drinks, shaking hands, touching bed linens or sheets, kissing, or sharing toothbrushes.