Introduction of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis or ‘TB’ is a very common and dangerous communicable infectious disease found in all parts of the world especially in developing countries like India. This is the reason why we must be aware of this disease. Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease caused by a microorganism called Mycobacterium tuberculin. This Tuberculosis causing bacteria is a non-motile, intercellular parasite and actually belongs to the subgroup Actinomycetes (also called filamentous bacteria ) of Eubacteria. It was discovered by Robert Koch and he was awarded Nobel prize for this in 1905. There are two strains of tuberculosis. One spreads in humans and other animals causing ‘Bovine Tuberculosis’.

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Types of Tuberculosis

This disease can be broadly categorized into two groups as follows-

  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis- 

This kind of tuberculosis affects the lungs.

  • Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis-

When tuberculosis not only affects the lungs but spreads to different parts of the body from the lungs it's extrapulmonary Tuberculosis. This type of TB is very rare and can be found in people with low immunity.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is again divided into 2 sub-groups as follows

  • Active TB -

This is actually referred to as the tuberculosis disease. The bacteria actively divide in the body of the host and symptoms become visible in the case of active Tuberculosis.

  • Latent TB - 

This type of TB is asymptomatic. Due to the strong immune system of the body, the bacteria are not able to flourish in the body of the host.

Tb Symptoms 

Tuberculosis is a chronic disease. It gradually starts and remains for a long time. Active pulmonary Tuberculosis is symptomatic and infectious. It shows the following symptoms-

  • Persistent cough for 3-4 weeks

  • Continuous fever

  • Chest pain

  • Blood in the cough of the patient

  • Weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Increase of hoarseness in voice

  • Fatigue 

Tuberculosis Diagnosis 

As the symptoms appear, one must go to the doctor for confirmation of the disease. If left untreated, Tuberculosis can even lead to death. Early detection of the disease plays a crucial role in saving the life of the patient. There are various diagnostic methods that are used to detect Tuberculosis.

Some of them famous diagnosis are mentioned below:

Tuberculin Test

This test detects pulmonary tuberculosis. Tuberculin is a toxin that is released by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The test used is the Mantoux Skin test. In this test, a small amount of old tuberculin is injected in the superficial layers of the skin. If in 72 hours some redness, scar, and swelling are found in the area of the application then the test is positive and the person is stated to be suffering from Tuberculosis.

Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis is not common and affects organs other than lungs like the brain, spinal cord, joints, bones, intestine, kidneys, etc. To diagnose this disease a sample of bacteria is taken from the lesions caused or from the secretions of these lesions.

Sputum Test 

Testing the sputum of the patient for the presence of causal bacteria can also reveal the status of the disease.


Taking the x-ray of the chest also helps in the diagnosis of the disease.

Tuberculosis Treatment 

Treatment of Tuberculosis is very important.  Untreated TB can be lethal.

  • Antitubercular drugs like INH, Rifampicin are given to the patients for a time period of 4-6 months. The success of the treatment majorly depends upon the patient.

  • If one discontinues the treatment before its completion the disease can return and can become untreatable. The tracing of the progress of the patient during the course of treatment is also very necessary.

Isolating the patient is also a part of the treatment.


Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course (DOTS) is a five-point strategy widely accepted and has been proved successful in treating TB. DOTS if applied effectively can prevent multi-drug resistance in the patient.

This treatment involves providing good drugs(medicines) to the patient on a regular basis using microscopy, observing the progress of the patient, and keeping track of it. This treatment course is continued for 6 months.

DOTS have been found effective in HIV patients also who are more susceptible to infections.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1.Mention some of the ways to prevent and manage tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis is a major barrier in the Socio-Economic development of a country like India. It can be prevented by the following steps-

  • Improvement of Social Conditions-  As this disease is communicable most people living in poor conditions end up spreading the disease to the entire community. Such incidences can be prevented by spreading awareness among the people.

  • BCG Vaccination - This is given to the infants of 3 months to make to provide them immunity against this disease. The effect of this vaccine is believed to last till 12 years.

2. What is the mode of transmission of TB? Is there any role of a proper diet to overcome TB?

Tuberculosis is a communicable disease and can spread from person to another by the droplets released by the patients of active TB while coughing, sneezing, etc. Most people take coughing as a minor ailment and ignore it which leads to the spreading of the disease. Not following public hygienic practices also leads to the spreading of this disease.

Proper diet helps in building a strong immunity which proves to be therapeutic for the drug treatment given to the patient of TB. Along with the complete course of drug proper diet also plays a major role in treating tuberculosis.