Thursday, March 24, 2011

24th March - World TB Day - Help prevent spread of TB

TB, abbreviation of Tuberculosis, is deadly contagious disease that causes approximately 2 million deaths each year around the globe, specially the undernourished and poor countries. Why March 24 to be observed as the World TB Day? The day in fact coincides with 24th March 1882, when Dr Robert Koch announced the discovery of the main basic cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. That was the time when the menace of TB was seriously spreading through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch's discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.

Pakistan ranks as the 8th high-burden country with over 1.6 million of TB patients, t which every year 410,000 more are being added. Today TB alone poses a serious threat not only to the lives of the patients, but also those they interact as it is highly contagious and spreads when the TB germs are emitted through sneezes, coughing and spiting by the effected people.

But many do not know that the present research into the disease has made it completely recoverable, provided it is properly diagnosed and a strict eight months course taken.

What we can do to promote the cause of the day and help prevent spread of TB? Well to start with we must spread the word around us that TB is completely curable. Secondly we must ask people to be on the lookout of friends and relatives with persistent coughs that doesn’t go away even after “three weeks.” If such symptoms persist, such people be immediately referred to TB centres where specialized doctors after tests can diagnose the positivity or otherwise of the disease. The patient then should undertake the mandatory 8-months long treatment strictly, which can save patient’s life and help prevent the spread of TB.

Those already suffering should generally be secluded and have their cough soaked handkerchief / tissue papers properly disposed off. However, complete seclusion of such people may add to their depression and alleviating of the disease. There is no harm in meeting TB patients, shaking hands with them or sharing utensils. However TB patients must cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, lest the TB germs spread out and enter others’ respiratory system. TB patients must spit in specified container and not in the open. Newly born infants must be immunized against TB with BCG vaccine immediately after birth.

Remember!! Lives of people around us depend on our positive response to root out TB from our society.