Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that grow best in areas of the body that have lots of blood and oxygen.

– contagious and airborne
– most often found in the lungs, called pulmonary TB, but TB can also spread to other parts of the body, which is called extra pulmonary TB.
– mortality has fallen 47% since 1990
– effective diagnosis and treatment of TB saved an estimated 43 million lives between 2000 and 2014

Despite these advances and despite the fact that nearly all cases can be cured, TB remains one of the world’s biggest threats.

The Philippines is 8th among the 22 TB high-burdened countries in the world in terms of TB cases.

Tuberculosis ranked as the 8th leading cause of sickness in the country (based on 2010 data) and the 6th leading cause of death (based on the 2009 Philippine Health Statistics)

Although your body may harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between an inactive state which cause no symptoms.

It is also called inactive TB or latent TB infection, which is not contagious.

Active TB, on the other hand is a condition which makes you sick and can cause spread of disease to others.

It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later. Symptoms include:
– Coughing that lasts three or more weeks
– Coughing out of blood
– Unintentional weight loss
– Fatigue
– Loss of appetite
– Fever
– Chest Pains
– Chills
– Night sweats

Making a diagnosis of TB among people identified as TB suspects involves referral for a diagnostic test. The primary diagnostic test to confirm the most infectious form of pulmonary TB is sputum smear microscopy; chest X-ray is also important and will often detect pulmonary TB.

The National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) requires three-samples be taken, when possible, at least one should be an early morning sputum sample.

Cases of TB should be classified to ensure that correct treatment is administered, in accordance with NTP guidelines. Classification is based on a number of factors, including the site of TB, degree of infectiousness of pulmonary TB, similarity in clinical presentation, and previous history of TB.
The NTP provides a standard treatment regimen for each category. The aim of the treatment is to kill TB bacilli and promote marked reduction in or disappearance of symptoms.

TB prevention is done through:
1. Cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene which means covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
2. TB Education to promote disease awareness and control of transmission
3. Boosting your immune system though maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes cessation of smoking, regular exercise, rest and well-balanced diet