TB Update

When a person inhales air containing particles expelled by an infectious person, most of the larger particles become lodged in the respiratory tract, where infection is unlikely. However, some of the smaller particles (nuclei) may reach the alveoli where an infection can germinate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced the goal of eliminating TB from the USA (North America) by the year 2010.

Following a lengthy decline in the number of cases, TB has reemerged as a serious health concern. The recent increase in the number of cases of tuberculosis can be attributed to a number of factors.

  • the association of TB with the HIV epidemic
  • immigrant carrying of TB
  • transmission of TB in environments such as homeless shelters, correctional facilities and medicenters
  • New treatment regimes arose as a result of the developmet of new strains of multi-drug resistant TB.

Precautions/Preventive Measures

  • increase medical staff awareness of the current TB problem and those at highest risk for TB infection and disease
  • isolate patients with infectious TB
  • increase medical staffs’ level of suspicion for TB in high-risk patients, in order to introduce proper screening methods
  • ensure appropriate treatment methods are prescribed
  • ensure all TB patients complete therapy
  • increase the use of preventive therapy among high-risk patients with TB infections
  • use appropriate methods to prevent TB transmissions in health care settings, correctional facilities and the workplace
  • have resources available for TB patients
  • develop and encourage educational programs for TB patients and their families
  • Some medical conditions cause TB infections to spread to full-blown disease.
  • HIV infection
  • substance abuse
  • recent infection with M.tuberculosis
  • diabetes mellitus
  • silicosis
  • prolonged corticosteroid therapy
  • other immunosuppressive drugs
  • low body weight

It is important to always take the necessary precautions in the workplace when dealing with TB patients. If you suspect you, a co-worker or a patient has become infected with TB, seek medical attention immediately.