On World Tuberculosis Day, which is observed on March 24 every year. Dr Parth Shah, a pulmonologist who consults on Practo, debunks some common myths:
Fact: Tuberculosis is not hereditary. TB is an airborne disease that is spread when a person with active TB coughs, laughs, sneezes, or sings, breathing out tiny infected particles into the air. The particles may then be inhaled by others nearby.
Myth #2: If someone with tuberculosis coughs, I will automatically contact it.
Fact: TB is not easily contracted. You have to be in close contact with someone who has TB for a long time (usually many hours or days).
Myth #3: Tuberculosis only occurs in lower socioeconomic groups.
Fact: Tuberculosis can be contracted by anyone, although certain populations such as immigrants, people with reduced immunity, the elderly, the homeless, and others are at a greater risk. Individuals in contact with these people are also at risk.
Fact: Not everyone who is infected with TB develops the disease. In most people, the immune system clears the bacteria and stops them from multiplying.
Myth #5: TB is caused by excessive smoking.
Fact: Smokers are predisposed to developing respiratory diseases. However, TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. So smoking increases the risk of developing tuberculosis.
Myth #6: Tuberculosis affects only the lungs.
Fact: No. TB can occur in any organ of the body. The most common organ affected by TB is lung and lymph nodes.
Tuberculosis can be detected by blood and radiological (Xray/Ct scan) investigations.
Fact: TB can not be 100 per cent detected by these tests. Blood investigations and radiological investigations are supplementary tests. The final diagnosis for pulmonary tuberculosis is the Sputum test or any secretions from the lung, and for other sites, tissue examinations.
Myth #8: TB is not curable.
Fact: TB is curable when early and proper diagnosis and medicines are given. Also, when a full course of treatment has been taken by a patient.
(The Indian Express)