Screening and Treatment are the Key to Control
TB is a contagious, infectious disease caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). TB bacteria usually attack the lungs, but can affect other parts of the body such as the kidney, bones, and brain. TB is a serious disease which kills 1.5 million people each year worldwide. However, if the disease is recognized early on, and treated appropriately, the chances of recovery are good.
TB bacteria are spread through the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, which may cause people in close proximity to become infected.
TB therapy is a well-studied but still imperfect discipline. The course of treatment can take as long as 2 years, depending on how the TB bacteria respond to the daily dose of medication. Adherence to this treatment regime is difficult for most people, and quitting therapy early has led to drug resistant strains of TB developing.
Treatment of LTBI prevents most cases of active TB from developing. Treatment of an individual with LTBI is significantly cheaper and easier than treating an individual with contagious, active TB. This strategy breaks the cycle of TB transmission, and has been recommended by the World Health Organization in their LTBI guidelines (2014)