In our literature book, Carry on Mr. Bowditch, several diseases were mentioned, one of which was consumption. Today, it is called tuberculosis. Mostly, tuberculosis infects the lungs, but in some cases, it moves to other parts of the body. When specific symptoms are identified, tuberculosis should be instantly treated. Preventing tuberculosis is always priority.

There are numerous signs which distinguish tuberculosis. When tuberculosis’ victim is within its clutches, they experience chest pain, cough severely for over three weeks, and cough up blood. Additionally, their symptoms include fevers, chills, night sweats, and weight and appetite loss. The patient also quickly tires. Around 75% of tuberculosis cases infect only the lungs, but the other 25% move to other parts of the body. Tuberculosis in the lungs is called pulmonary tuberculosis, but when it makes its home in other areas of the human body, it is known as extra pulmonary tuberculosis. Existing mostly separately, both kinds of tuberculosis rarely appear together. It is sensible to spot tuberculosis before it grows too serious.

The cause of tuberculosis is the mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Compared to other bacteria, MTB divides slowly at a rate of one time every sixteen to twenty hours. Actually, MTB includes four other TB-causing bacteria: M bovis, M africanum, M canetti, and M microti. Although M bovis was quite common, the drinking of pasteurized milk in advanced countries has majorly decreased the number of these cases. M canetti is extremely rare and mostly only seen in Africans, but TB is sometimes spotted in African emigrants. In situations of M microti, mainly people with low immunity are infected; but its danger has been underestimated. TB-causing bacteria are extremely dangerous.

Primarily, properly prevent TB so it can be immediately treated. Can it be stopped? Bacillus Calmette-Guerin is a tuberculosis vaccine that implants immunity in infants and small children, but as of today, no vaccine has yet been developed to protect adults. In 1993, 85% of the children in 172 countries were vaccinated thanks to WHO (World Health Organization). This immunization was first created in the Pasteur Institute in France in the years 1905-1921. Someone who has already caught TB can use antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. However, the bacteria form a mycobacterium cell wall that stops and resists certain antibiotics. Although some have been useless, two antibiotics, rifampicin and isoniazid, have proved themselves to be effective. Requiring more medicine, a combination of several antibiotics is needed for active cases, while only one can treat inactive TB. Inactive (or latent) TB can suddenly progress into active TB. In 2007, there were 13.7 million active cases of TB, 9.3 million new cases, and 1.8 million deaths. Tuberculosis’ mission is to kill, and we must try to block its advances.

TB is deadly. The symptoms are severe. The causes are damaging. The prevention is vital. Essentially needed, TB shots will build up an immunity in children to avoid extreme sickness. Tuberculosis, though a deadly enemy, can be resisted.