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Common Myths and Facts About Tuberculosis

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Common Myths and Facts About Tuberculosis

Pulmonology | by CMRI | Published on 21/09/2021

Tuberculosis (TB) is still a leading cause of death worldwide which was thought to be eradicated years ago. Across the world, every year on March 24, Tuberculosis day is celebrated to spread awareness of TB infection. This day commemorates the death anniversary of Robert Kotch (the scientist who first discovered the TB Bacterium-Mycobacterium tuberculosis). It is the day when all people are educated about different facades of Tuberculosis to break the myths about it.  


There are various myths and social stigmas bound to this condition, thereby causing a delay of the patient in seeking help. The spread of these myths shall be cleaned up soon otherwise it would pose a serious risk for healthy people around.


Here are some of the tuberculosis myths debunked by the best lung specialist in Kolkata that can help one to know more to keep them well awarded about this disease:


Myth 1: Tuberculosis is passed from parents to their children.

Fact 1: TB is thought to be caused due to genetic factors as members of the same family often develop the disease. But the reality is, this is because of the closer proximity of the family members with a TB patient (who has a dormant TB infection) that makes possible the spread of the TB germs through the air.


Myth 2: All people suffering from Tuberculosis can spread the infection to healthy people.

Fact 2: This is not true. Only people who develop symptoms (i.e. have active TB infection) can transmit the infection and not people with latent TB infection. Moreover, the spread can only take place if the bacterium resides in the throat and lungs rather than in other body parts like the spine or kidney. Generally, it has been noticed that people can stop being infectious soon after having 4-8 weeks long treatment.


Myth 3: TB cannot be cured or treated.

Fact 3: This is a false statement; TB can be treated. Effective antibacterial medications are available to inhibit or kill the growth of TB germs. People suffering from latent TB infection shall take a single antibiotic pill daily for 6 to 9 months to prevent the progression of TB infection into TB disease. In case of active TB infection, people shall take a prescribed combination of antibiotics for a specific period. A DOT (Direct Observed Therapy) therapy can be provided to TB patients to closely look after them and finish the treatment course early.


Myth 4: Tuberculosis is only of one kind.

Fact 4: There are two types of TB conditions: Extrapulmonary TB and Pulmonary TB. The most prevalent infection between the two is Pulmonary TB which affects the lungs. Extrapulmonary TB affects other body parts and has progressed from TB infection of the lung. Some of the body parts affected include lymph nodes, kidneys, brain, bone, and muscle.


Myth 5: Smoothing can lead to TB infection.

Fact 5: Smokers are generally inclined to develop respiratory illnesses and have a greater risk of respiratory infection. But this does not mean smoking can result in TB infection. Tuberculosis infection is developed in people who inhale contaminated air (containing TB germs) and their immune system is not able to fight the invaded TB bacterium.


Myth 6: TB can spread through physical contact.

Fact 6: Although TB is a contagious disease, it does not mean it can spread through direct physical contact. Even if healthy people shake hands, share toothbrushes, touch bed linens or toilet seats, or shares food and beverage with a TB-infected person, they would not contract TB infection. Only patients with active TB infection of the throat and lungs can spread the infection to others by sneezing, coughing, talking, or singing.


Myth 7: TB is always fatal.

Fact 7:This is not true. If TB patients do not get treated for long, it could lead to their death. But modern medications and prompt care provided by the Best TB doctor in Kolkata can help manage this serious illness successfully.


Myth 8: TB infection can be prevented.

Fact 8: This statement is partially true. Even though there are vaccines available to protect children from developing TB, but still many adults get TB infection or disease. Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) is the name of the vaccine that is given as a single dose in childhood (i.e within few days of being born up to 6 months) across many countries. 


Schedule an appointment at Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI), Best Hospital for TB treatment in Kolkata that provides comprehensive and individualized treatment by the Best TB Specialist.