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What is the full form of TB?

TB: Tuberculosis

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The full form of TB is Tuberculosis. It is an infectious and contagious disease that’s transmitted from person to person. It is caused by the bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Tuberculosis (TB) generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Diagnosis of active TB is based on chest X-rays, as well as microscopic examination and culture of body fluids. Diagnosis of latent TB relies on the tuberculin skin test (TST) or blood tests. TB is more common in people with HIV/AIDS and in those who smoke, than in the general population. Tuberculosis is spread through the air when people who have active TB in their lungs cough, spit, speak, or sneeze. People with latent TB do not spread the disease.

Prevention and Treatment of TB

Prevention of TB involves screening those at high risk, early detection and treatment of cases, and vaccination with the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine. Those at high risk include household, workplace, and social contacts of people with active TB. Treatment requires the use of multiple antibiotics over a long period of time. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem with increasing rates of multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).

Chest X-ray of a person with advanced tuberculosis: Infection in both lungs is marked by white arrow-heads, and the formation of a cavity is marked by black arrows.

The only available vaccine for TB as of 2011 is Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG). In children it decreases the risk of getting the infection by 20% and the risk of infection turning into active disease by nearly 60%. It is the most widely used vaccine worldwide, with more than 90% of all children being vaccinated. The immunity it induces decreases after about ten years. In the US, treatment of active tuberculosis is mandatory by law and should be available at no cost to the patient through the public health system. It involves a course of antibiotics and vitamins that lasts about six months. It is vital to finish the entire treatment, both to prevent the development of antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis and to prevent reoccurrence. Most patients with tuberculosis do not need to be quarantined, but it is sometimes necessary.

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