Tuberculosis: Everything About It (Part 2)

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Who Is At Risk?
Tuberculosis mostly affects adults in their productive years. However, all age groups are at risks. People infected with HIV are 20 to 30 times more likely to develop active TB. The risk of active TB is greater in persons suffering from other conditions that impair the immune system.
One million children(0-14) years fell ill with TB and 140 000 children died from the disease in 2014.

Symptoms And Diagnosis
Common symptoms of active lung TB are a cough with sputum and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Many countries still rely on a long-used method called sputum smear microscopy to diagnose TB. Trained laboratory technicians look at sputum samples under a microscope to see if TB bacteria are present. With 3 such tests, diagnosis can be made within a day, but this test does not detect numerous cases of less infectious forms of TB.
Diagnosing MDR-TB (see Multidrug-resistant TB section below) and HIV-associated TB can be more complex. A new 2- hour test that has proven highly effective in diagnosing TB and the presence of drug resistance is now being rolled-out in many countries.
Tuberculosis is particularly difficult to diagnose in children.

TB is the curable and treatable disease. Active, drug- susceptible TB is treated with a standard 6- month course with course 4 antimicrobial drugs that are provided with information, supervision and support to the patient by a health worker or trained volunteer. Without such support, treatment adherence can be difficult and the disease can spread. The vast majority of TB cases can be cured when medicines are provided and taken properly.
Between 2000 and 2014, an estimated 43 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment.

WHO Response
WHO pursues 6 core functions addressing TB
• Provide global leadership on matters critical to TB.
• Develop evidence-based policies, strategies and standards for TB prevention, care and control, and monitor their implementation.
• Provide technical support to the Member States, catalyze change, and build sustainable capacity.
• Monitor the global TB situation, and measure progress in TB care, control, and financing.
• Shape the TB research agenda and stimulate the production, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge.
• Facilitate and engage in partnerships for TB action.

The WHO End TB Strategy, adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2014, is a blueprint for countries to end the TB epidemic by driving down TB deaths, incidence and eliminating catastrophic costs. It outlines global impact targets to reduce TB deaths by 90% and to cut new cases by 80% between 2015 and 2030 and to ensure that no family is burdened with catastrophic costs due to TB.

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