Tuberculosis: Introduction FeedbackA general introduction to Tuberculosis.Source: NHS Choices, 30 Nov 2012
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.
It is a serious condition but can be cured with proper treatment.
TB mainly affects the lungs. However, it can affect any part of the body, including the bones and nervous system.
Typical symptoms of TB include:
- having a persistent cough for more than three weeks that brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
- weight loss
- night sweats
- high temperature (fever)
- tiredness and fatigue
- loss of appetite
You should see a GP if you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks or if you cough up blood.
Read more about the symptoms of tuberculosis.
What causes tuberculosis?
TB is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis.
TB that affects the lungs is the only form of the condition that is contagious and usually only spreads after prolonged exposure to someone with the illness. For example, TB often spreads within a family who live in the same house.
In most healthy people, the immune system (the body's natural defence against infection and illness) kills the bacteria and you have no further symptoms.
However, sometimes the immune system cannot kill the bacteria, but manages to prevent it from spreading in the body. This means you will not have any symptoms, but the bacteria will remain in your body. This is known as latent TB.
If the immune system fails to kill or contain the infection, it can spread to the lungs or other parts of the body and symptoms will develop within a few weeks or months. This is known as active TB.
Latent TB could develop into an active TB infection at a later date, particularly if your immune system becomes weakened.
Read more about the causes of tuberculosis.
How is tuberculosis treated?
With treatment, a TB infection can usually be cured. Most people will need a course of antibiotics, usually for six months.
Several different antibiotics are used. This is because some forms of TB are resistant to certain antibiotics. If you are infected with a drug-resistant form of TB, treatment can last as long as 18 months.
The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can provide effective protection against TB in up to eight out of 10 people who are given it.
Currently, BCG vaccinations are only recommended for groups of people who are at a higher risk of developing TB.
This includes children living in areas with high rates of TB or those who have close family members from countries with high TB rates.
It is also recommended that some people, such as healthcare workers, are vaccinated due to the increased risk of contracting TB while working.
Read more about tuberculosis vaccine.
How common is TB?
Before antibiotics were introduced, TB was a major health problem in the UK. Nowadays, the condition is much less common. However, in the last 20 years TB cases have gradually increased, particularly among ethnic minority communities who are originally from places where TB is more common.
In 2011, 8,963 cases of TB were reported in the UK. Of these, more than 6,000 of these cases affected people who were born outside the UK.
It is estimated that one-third of the world's population is infected with latent TB. Of these, about 10% will become active at some point.
Tuberculosis: Guidance FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Tuberculosis from producers of guidance information.
- Tuberculosis - NICE Pathways
Tuberculosis: Clinical diagnosis and management of tuberculosis, and measures for its prevention and control - guidance (CG117)National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 March 2011
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 March 2012
Information for the public
Tuberculosis: Information for the public FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Tuberculosis, from Department of Health accredited producers of patient information.
- Bupa , 31 March 2014
- NHS Choices, 30 November 2012
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- Aidsmap, 17 May 2012
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Tuberculosis: Medicines FeedbackAppropriate medicines information for Tuberculosis supplied by Datapharm, a leading source of trusted, credible information about medicines.
Tuberculosis (TB) - Medicines Information
- Capreomycin sulphate
- Depo-Medrone (a brand of Methylprednisolone Acetate)
- Medrone (a brand of Methylprednisolone)
- Methylprednisolone sodium succinate
- Mycobutin (a brand of Rifabutin)
- Rifadin (a brand of Rifampicin)
- Rifater (a brand of Isoniazid , a brand of Pyrazinamide , a brand of Rifampicin)
- Rifinah (a brand of Isoniazid , a brand of Rifampicin)
- Rimactane (a brand of Rifampicin)
- Solu-Medrone (a brand of Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate)
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...text access to this content Impact of tuberculosis preventive therapy on tuberculosis and mortality in HIV-infected children...Young T, Cotton M, Zar H. Impact of tuberculosis preventive therapy on tuberculosis and mortality...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 21 January 2009 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...content Isoniazid for preventing tuberculosis in non-HIV infected persons Marek...Smaill FM. Isoniazid for preventing tuberculosis in non-HIV infected persons. Cochrane...Morbidity and mortality from Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection remain high worldwide, with...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 25 January 1999 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...of less than six months for treating tuberculosis Hellen Gelband * Editorial Group...of less than six months for treating tuberculosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews...terms Treatment for active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is a very long process compared...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 25 October 1999 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Potential cost-effectiveness of rifampin vs. isoniazid for latent tuberculosis: implications for future clinical trials
...rifampin vs. isoniazid for latent tuberculosis: implications for future clinical...months of isoniazid treatment for latent tuberculosis. The authors concluded that rifampin...compared with isoniazid for latent tuberculosis (participants with tuberculosis clinics...
NHS Economic Evaluation Database, 02 August 2012
...four treatment regimens for latent tuberculosis infection Holland DP, Sanders GD...of alternative treatments for latent tuberculosis infection. The authors concluded that...effectiveness of treatments for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), which was defined...
NHS Economic Evaluation Database, 08 December 2010
Screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis among healthcare workers at low, moderate, and high risk for tuberculosis exposure: a cost-effectiveness analysis
...Screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis among healthcare workers at low, moderate, and high risk for tuberculosis exposure: a cost-effectiveness...treatment technologies for latent tuberculosis (TB) were assessed. Screening...
NHS Economic Evaluation Database, 30 November 2006
Short-course prophylaxis against tuberculosis in HIV-infected persons: a decision and cost-effectiveness analysis
...Short-course prophylaxis against tuberculosis in HIV-infected persons: a decision...technology Prophylactic therapy for tuberculosis in HIV-infected persons. Type...follows: The annual rate of active tuberculosis in patients who did not receive prophylaxis...
NHS Economic Evaluation Database, 31 March 1999
Twelve months of isoniazid compared with four months of isoniazid and rifampin for persons with radiographic evidence of previous tuberculosis: an outcome and cost-effectiveness analysis
...for persons with radiographic evidence of previous tuberculosis: an outcome and cost-effectiveness analysis ...rifampin (ISO-RIF) for the treatment of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection in individuals with radiographic evidence...
NHS Economic Evaluation Database, 30 September 2004
Global drug-resistance patterns and the management of latent tuberculosis infection in immigrants to the United States
...resistance patterns and the management of latent tuberculosis infection in immigrants to the United States Khan...alternative strategies for the management of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection in immigrants were examined. The strategies...
NHS Economic Evaluation Database, 31 August 2004
...Abubakar I. Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection: A Network Meta-analysis...September 2014 Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection : A Network Meta-analysis Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection FREE Helen R. Stagg...
12 August 2014 - Publisher: Annals of Internal Medicine - Publication type: Systematic reviews
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