What is tuberculosis?
TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease with approximately 10 million new cases each year and 1.5 million deaths, including 350,000 children.
How does TB spread?
What are the symptoms of TB?
How is TB diagnosed?
There are a number of medical tests which can be used to detect TB. In the first instance, patients receive a physical exam from a medical professional who also reviews their medical history. A skin test or blood test can be used to check for a latent or active TB infection (see below definition for latent TB). Patients also receive a chest x-ray to spot signs of the TB bacterium in their lungs. Finally, a patient can be diagnosed via a spetum test, where the TB bacteria is coughed up by the patient. For more complex forms of TB, additional tests may be needed to accurately confirm the diagnosis.
How is TB treated?
Who is at risk of developing TB?
– People who are immunocompromised
– People with a substance-abuse issue
– People who have lived in, or recently returned from, a geogaphy with a high TB burden
– Homeless people and those living in poverty
– People in prison
What is latent TB?
20% of the world’s population has latent, or inactive, TB. People with latent TB have the TB bacterium in their bodies, but show no symptoms, do not feel sick and do not have the ability to pass on TB to other people. Latent TB becomes active when the body’s immune system becomes compromised. This can happen for a number of reasons, including prexisting medical conditions, certain medicine regimens, age, poor nutrition andliving in crowded or poorly ventilated conditions.
If the latent TB turns active, then the individual will develop an active TB infection. To prevent the spread of TB, many people with latent TB are screened and monitored to prevent wider populations from contracting an active TB bacterium.
Do we have a TB vaccine?
What is multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB)?
People with MDR-TB must be treated with complex and specalist drug regimens. This treatment takes much longer than a ‘regular’ TB infection and the side effects are much more severe.
Drug and antimicrobial resistance are an increasingly important issue within the global health sector. Drug resistant strains of TB kill more people each year than any other disease.
Please note that this is not an official website of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. APPGs are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. Any views expressed across this website are those of the APPG on Tuberculosis.