Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection that makes its home in the lungs, although it can spread to other vital organs. It is common, dangerous, and often fatal. In an effort to spread awareness on this deadly disease and to arm yourself for optimal health, this article focuses on surprising facts and statistics about tuberculosis, often referred to as, “TB.”
1.) TB is Spreading Rapidly
According to the World Health Organization, one third of the population is infected with tuberculosis bacteria. This is not to say that everyone infected with the bacteria will go on to develop tuberculosis, but it is imperative to be tested to find out if you are infected with the bacteria, so that precautions and treatments can be utilized to ensure the disease does not awaken. It is important to note that those infected with the bacteria often have no signs or symptoms, so testing is the only way to know for certain if bacteria is present.
2.) How TB Travels
Just like any other disease, tuberculosis has certain means of travel. CNN states that it is spread through the air. This means that it can be spread through sneezing, coughing, a person speaking, singing, etc. The infectious germs can stay alive in the air for hours. It can not, however, be spread through handshaking, hugging, or even kissing.
3.) Risk Factors and Symptoms
The Center for Disease control shares the risk factors and symptoms of tuberculosis, so that the public can be armed with information to combat the disease. They state that risk factors include already being infection with the HIV virus, other diseases which compromise the immune system, exposure to TB within the last two years, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and past TB infection which was not correctly treated. Symptoms of TB include, but are not limited to, a persistent cough lasting over three weeks, coughing up blood, chest pain, chills, fever, loss of appetite, and night sweats.
4.) TB Happens Everywhere
The folks at DoSomething.org want the public to know that tuberculosis occurs in every part of the world, so no one is immune. In 2011, over 60 percent of new tuberculosis cases occurred in Asia, however, the greatest number of new tuberculosis cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
5.) TB is Curable
After reading the above facts, tuberculosis diagnosis may sound like a death sentence. While it is certainly something that should be taken seriously, it is important to understand that it is not only treatable, but also curable. DoSomething.org states that, since 1995, over 51 million patients have successfully been cured from the disease.