Tuberculosis (TB)

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) today (24/03) is World Tuberculosis (TB) Day. TB remains one the world’s deadliest infectious killer with over 4,000 loosing their lives daily and nearly 30,000 falling sick with this avoidable and curable disease.

World TB Day is recognised annually on March 24th. This date is chosen to honour Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes TB in 1882.

According to the CDC up to 13 million people in the USA alone have latent TB infection, from which they could possible develop TB disease in the future. CDC calls for continued testing and treatment of latent TB infection to prevent future progression. TB is second only to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in causes of death by infectious disease among adults. Many developing countries are suffering dual epidemics of tuberculosis and HIV. The interaction between these two diseases has been labeled “Toxic synergy.” That’s because each epidemic impacts people in the same impoverished regions of the world and because each worsens the other. Active TB occurs in the following forms;

Primary pulmonary TB

Post primary (reactivation) puLmonary TB

Extra-pulmonary TB

Disseminated or miliary TB

The WHO describe TB as the leading cause of death of people with HIV and also a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.

Most of the people who fall ill with TB live in low- and middle-income countries, but TB is present all over the world. About half of all people with TB can be found in 8 countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and South Africa.

The NHS in the UK describe TB as a bacterial infection with spreads through the inhalation of tiny droplets from the coughs, sneezes or spit of infected people, through the air. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen), glands, bones and nervous system. TB can be cured with antibiotics.


As reported by the CDC, in developing countries with high rates of TB, a vaccine against the disease often is given at birth. The vaccine is not used routinely in the United States and most European countries because the risk of transmission in these countries is low, and because the vaccine is not very effective.

People with a positive skin test for TB (PPD) who have never received medication to prevent TB from becoming active should consider taking isoniazid (INH) for up to 9 months. Also people with HIV infection who live in parts of the world that have high rates of TB are encouraged to take isoniazid, even if they have a negative PPD.