Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. The disease primarily affects the lungs and this is known as pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). It may also affect other parts of the body such as the brain, the kidneys or the spine.
TB is a treatable and curable disease. Active drug-susceptible TB disease is treated with a standard 6 month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs. It is important for a person to adhere to the prescribed dosage of medicines to get better and to prevent spread of the disease. If medicines are not continued or taken regularly, the TB bacteria may become resistant to the medicine and treatment may take longer.
Once an active TB is treated with appropriate medicines, the person is no longer contagious after 3 weeks. At this time, the person may feel better and not have any symptoms but medicines should still be taken as directed since the bacteria are still alive in the body.
- To prevent the spread of disease, an infected person should:
- Take the prescribed medicines
- Always cover the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing
- Stay at home. Avoid crowded places.
- Open windows and air out the room. TB spreads in small closed spaces where air doesn’t move.
- BCG vaccine for the protection of newborns and young children.
- TB education. In the workplace, Department Order no. 73-05 of the Department of Labor and Employment mandates that a TB prevention and control policy and awareness program shall be formulated and implemented.