Tuberculosis is one of the top killers in the world, and it is affecting more people in poorer countries, with more than 95% of tuberculosis deaths occurring in countries with low and middle incomes.

What is tuberculosis

According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis is caused by airborne bacteria that affects the lungs. It can be cured and it can be prevented but in 2014, around 1.5 million people around the world died because of TB.

Tuberculosis can be latent, which means that there are those who are infected with it, but they are not ill and they are not likely to transmit it. Once people are infected, they have a 10% chance of falling ill with TB.

Those who have compromised immune system are at a higher risk of falling ill. A person who infected with latent TB will not show any sign or symptoms and they may not feel ill. The only way to know if they have TB is through skin or blood test.

Also Read: Tuberculosis: New Insights Into The Pathogen

According to the CDC, a latent TB infection does not spread, so close contact with someone who last latent TB is still possible. Those with a latent TB infection may never develop the disease because the bacteria remains dormant.

There are other cases that the bacteria may become active and it may cause TB disease, especially if the person has a weak immune system.

Treatment is required to make sure that infected person does not develop active TB disease but in some cases preventative treatment may not be an option. Without any treatment, around 5% to 10% of people infected with latent TB will develop the disease.

Facts about Tuberculosis

Since 2000, more than 43 million people have been saved through diagnosis and treatment. The health target of the Sustainable Development Goals is to end TB epidemic by 2030. This is after a global failure to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reversing the TB epidemic by 2015.

Around one-third of the world's population is infected with TB and almost 10 million people around the world was diagnosed with TB in 2014. Also in 2014, 1.5 million TB-related deaths were recorded. For those who have HIV, TB is the leading killer.

Also, 9,421 TB cases were reported in the US in 2014, which was a 1.5% decline from the reported cases in 2013. Even though TB patients are recorded around the world, the largest number of cases was recorded in the West Pacific Regions and South-East Asia in 2014. However, Africa still has the highest number overall.

In 2014, the World Health Organization introduced an End TB strategy. The strategy was said to be the blueprint for all countries to end TB epidemic by decreasing the deaths, removing the costs and the incidence.

Symptoms of TB

The symptoms of TB include coughing up blood and intense chest pain. Patients also suffer from night sweats, sudden weight loss, chills, fever and fatigue.

Although latent TB will not infect others, it is still possible to spread it. In order to check if you have TB, you need to undergo a skin or blood test. The treatment involves a combination of drugs taken for six to nine months.

Related Article: Tuberculosis Larger Global Burden Than We Thought: WHO