Prevention of Tuberculosis (TB Prevention)
The main objective in tuberculosis prevention is to stop the transmission of infection from one person to another. This is done by identifying the person suffering from active tuberculosis and then curing him/her with appropriate drugs.
With proper and timely treatment, the patient will become non-infectious and will no longer be able to transmit the disease. Another important criterion of tuberculosis prevention is to prevent people with latent tuberculosis from developing the active infection.
Any situation that increases the number of infected people ultimately reduces the overall efforts put in to prevent the infection. For example:
- presence of tuberculosis and HIV together in a person
- ineffective and incomplete treatment
- development of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis
What should be done to help prevent the disease tuberculosis?
In order to decrease the transmission of tuberculosis and to prevent its outspread, following points should be considered:
- Houses should be properly ventilated and aerated
- Educating people on coughing etiquettes and respiratory hygiene
- Tuberculosis patients should spend less time outdoors and in public transports
- Children below the age of five years should spend less time with tuberculosis patients
- Using respirators while visiting tuberculosis healthcare centers and patients
- Completing the course of medication
Methods for the prevention of TB
Following strategies have been opted for the prevention of tuberculosis:
- BCG vaccine
- Educating people
- Treatment for prevention
The BCG vaccine
There are vaccinations for tuberculosis; however, it makes a small contribution to disease prevention. This vaccine was developed in the 1920s and is called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). The vaccine reaches 80% of all neonates and infants in developing and under-developed countries.
According to a survey, the vaccine has provided protection against disseminated forms of tuberculosis. As most of the cases arise from adults transmitting tuberculosis to children, the BCG vaccine is used to protect children. The vaccine often results in positive skin test for tuberculosis.
Educating people about tuberculosis is necessary. People already suffering and the public in general should be aware of the transmission of tuberculosis. People already suffering from tuberculosis should know how to take medications for tuberculosis properly and timely.
Treatment as prevention
Tuberculosis treatment as a mode of prevention is known as chemoprophylaxis. It can reduce the risk of development of active tuberculosis from latent infection.
Isoniazid is one of the most common drugs used for the treatment of tuberculosis. Completing the course of medications is important to avoid development of MDR-tuberculosis. Curing of disease is not only the responsibility of healthcare professional but also of a patient.