DO YOU KNOW: Tuberculosis or TB is Curable!!

Tuberculosis or commonly called TB is still a common infection in India and some other developing countries. Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affects our lungs but can also involve lymph nodes, brain, bones and various other body organs. There are many misconceptions amongst people regarding treatment of Tuberculosis (TB). In this article we discuss the chances of cure of Tuberculosis (TB).

What is the current treatment of Tuberculosis (TB)?
Treatment of drug sensitive tuberculosis (TB) is for a duration of 6 months but might need to be extended to 9-12 months in some situations such as disseminated, brain or bone tuberculosis (TB). The medicines used in treatment of drug sensitive tuberculosis (TB) are isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol.

Treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) depends on the type of regimen used. Shorter regimen is for 9 months while longer treatment is for 18-24 months. Medicines used in treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) are levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, clofazimine, bedaquiline, cycloserine, ethionamide and PAS.

What are the factors which determine the success of Tuberculosis (TB) treatment?
The most important factors related to treatment success are drug sensitivity of the tuberculosis (TB) bacteria, appropriate dosing of medicines, proper adherence to the medicines and duration of treatment. It is important to find the tuberculosis (TB) bacteria and determine whether it is sensitive or resistant to the most important medicine, which is rifampicin. Finding the bacteria and assessing sensitivity to rifampicin can be done easily by using a single test known as a CB-NAAT. CB-NAAT can be done either using a GenXpert or a TruNat platform. This test is easily available. It is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Government of India that a CB NAAT test is performed for all patients including children before the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) is started.

Can TB be cured completely?
Active, drug-sensitive TB disease if treated with a standard 6-month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs. The vast majority of tuberculosis (TB) cases can be cured when medicines are taken properly. The cure rates are close to 95-98%. The success rate in treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis could be less depending upon the extent of the disease, treatment regimen, and side effects of medicines.

What are the chances of relapse after a child has been completely treated for tuberculosis (TB)?
Relapse of disease in children who have been treated for tuberculosis (TB) could be because of two reasons. The first reason could be a reinfection which happens because in India tuberculosis (TB) is endemic and cross infections are quite high. The second reason of having a repeat episode of tuberculosis (TB) could be reactivation of tuberculosis (TB) bacteria which has been there harbouring inside the body. The chances of having a second episode of tuberculosis (TB) in a child who has been treated previously is less than 5%.Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the infectious diseases that may cause death worldwide. Unlike other respiratory infections, TB can lead to permanent lung damage

If your child is suspected to have Tuberculosis (TB) or diagnosed to have Tuberculosis (TB) do get in touch with a child pulmonologist or Tuberculosis (TB) specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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