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On the Move Against Tuberculosis

Stop TB PartnershipThursday, 24th March 2011 is World TB Day.

We are entering the second year of a two-year campaign, 'On the Move Against Tuberculosis – Transforming the Fight Towards Elimination' whose goal is to inspire innovation in TB research and care.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial infection that is spread by inhaling the coughs, sneezes or spit of an infected person. Primarily TB affects the lungs, but is capable of spreading to other organs, such as the kidneys, bones or nervous system. A person may not experience symptoms until months or years after being infected.

The following groups are at higher risk of TB:

  • The elderly
  • Infants
  • People with weakened immune systems, (i.e. due to AIDS, diabetes, chemotherapy or certain medications)

The first symptoms of pulmonary TB include:

  • A persistent cough lasting over 2-3 weeks
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Fever

If the lung infection worsens, additional symptoms can occur:

  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulty
  • Coughing up of sputum (material from the lungs)
  • Coughing up of blood

If pulmonary TB is diagnosed early and treatment is begun quickly, the outlook is excellent. In fact, symptoms often improve in 2-3 weeks, (however a chest x-ray will not show improvement until some months later).

The goal of treatment is to cure the infection with drugs that fight the TB bacteria. You may need to take many different pills at different times of the day for 6-24 months or longer. It is very important to take the pills as instructed and to complete the course. When people do not take their TB medications exactly as instructed, the infection can become resistant to the treatment, and sometimes the drugs no longer help treat the infection.

Anyone can get TB, but it is both treatable and preventable. In Zimbabwe we all have access to Free Diagnosis and Treatment of Tuberculosis. So visit your doctor or nearest clinic for advice.

To find out more about Tuberculosis or World TB Day visit the Stop TB Partnership website.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2011
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