Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that is caused by an infection, it usually affects the lungs but it can interfere with other body organs. It is spread via the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. TB was the leading cause of death in many Western countries but due to effective treatment and prevention it is now quite uncommon. Not everyone with the TB infection develops to the active TB which means you become sick and the symptoms arise and you are able to spread the disease. Medication at the beginning will help the risk of the patient developing the active disease.
Active TB causes symptoms such as a persistent cough, tiredness, night sweats, weight loss and coughing up blood.
Some people are at more risk of developing tuberculosis than others. Australia has a very low statistic of those who develop TB. Those who are at high risk are migrants, Torres Strait Islanders, HIV suffers, alcoholics, the elderly, those who suffer from diabetes and those who live in overcrowded conditions or who have a poor immunity.
Treatment of tuberculosis (TB) can take six to nine months and sometimes it may be even longer. TB can be cured in almost all cases by medication; a full course of the medication is at least six months. Similar to all medications the TB tablets have side effects. The side effects of the medication are nausea, jaundice (yellowing skin), fever, tingling, and loss of appetite, skin irritations and vision problems. It is important to not drink alcohol during treatment for TB.
There is a vaccine against TB called BCG. It is only recommended for those in high risk categories.