World Tuberculosis day aims to raise awareness to the epidemic of tuberculosis, a disease that in 2015 affected more than 10 millions people worldwide. The theme for this year is “Unite to End TB”.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that affects mostly the lungs, though it is possible to affect other parts of the body. While it is considered a serious condition, it can be treated with antibiotics. This date commemorates the day, back in 1882, when Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of the virus that causes tuberculosis.
According to the WHO, tuberculosis is often overlooked because is hard to be diagnosed. Symptoms can include cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks (with phlegm that can have blood), weight loss, night sweats, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite.
TB occurs in every part of the world but the majority of cases are concentrated in Asia (61%) and Africa (26%). In countries with a few registered cases, TB affects mostly vulnerable individuals in social risk, like people with alcohol and drug problems or homeless people. TB affects particularly people who are infected with the HIV virus, as both infections speed up each other’s progression.
As in most health conditions, an early and proper diagnosis is the key to a better, faster recovery. Delaying treatment can lead to long-term health issues.