Category: Features Created on Monday, 07 May 2012 16:42 Published Date Written by Audrey Dekalu | GNA Hits: 646
Accra, May 7, GNA – There is a probable fact that every Tuberculosis (TB) patient must know if their hope of medical recovery is to be real! They must adhere to the 90 per cent treatment regime.
Failure to do so, not only increase the risk of development of drug resistant strains but also steps up the spread of TB leading to the burden of TB nationwide.
Abena (not her real name) a dedicated TB nurse took upon herself the crusade to spread this medical fact to her patients. However luck run out of her mission and she rather became a victim to TB herself.
Abena started experiencing a bad cough that lasted more than two weeks with pain in her chest. She later became weak, lost weight and appetite and was plagued with chills fever and sweating at night.
“As a health worker I knew from the symptoms that I had been infected with TB whiles helping others to fight it. Tests conducted confirmed it but I knew that treatment was available and free so I took time off work and started the treatment and I’m now fit and back to work again,” she told the Ghana News Agency.
Asked about how she contracted TB? She said she was not too shocked because people with active TB can easily spread the disease.
She admits that most hospitals and health workers including where she works have taken a softer line in basic infection control measures.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria spread through the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes.
TB bacteria become active if the immune system can't stop them from growing. The active bacteria begin to multiply in the body and cause active TB disease. The bacteria attack the body and destroy the tissues.
If this occurs in the lungs, the bacteria can actually create a hole in the lung. Some people develop active TB disease soon after becoming infected, before their immune system can fight the TB bacteria.
Other people may get sick later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason.
TB infection has been documented after short exposures to such persons with active TB. After becoming infected, most people's immune systems are able to contain the infection, but are not able to eliminate it without help from anti-TB drugs.
These people have latent TB infection and remain infected until corrective treatment is completed. Latent TB infection does not cause symptoms and is not contagious.
However, without treatment, infected people can lose control of the infection and develop active, clinical disease.
People with active TB have symptoms and can spread the disease. The risk of developing active TB disease is greatest in the first few years after infection, but some risk remains throughout life.
TB is preventable and, in most cases, treatable. Infection control practices can help reduce the risk of TB transmission.
Treatment of persons with latent TB infection can prevent the subsequent development of active TB, and TB disease can usually be cured by available anti-TB drugs.
Even persons with drug-resistant strains can often be cured by alternative regimen of medications.
According to New England Journal of Medicine, The risk of tuberculosis among health care workers was substantial in the era before antibiotics but declined rapidly after 1950 because of the lower incidence of the disease in the population and the advent of effective therapy.
These changes resulted in the relaxation of infection-control practices in hospitals, if not outright neglect of such practices.
Over the past decade, two factors have profoundly altered views about the risk of tuberculosis in health care workers.
The first is the resurgence of the disease. Between 1985 and 1991, the incidence of all forms of tuberculosis increased by 24 to 34 per cent in Denmark, Italy and Switzerland and by 18.4 per cent in the United States.
The second factor is the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, which have been reported in 40 States and have caused outbreaks in at least 12 hospitals.
Health care workers infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are more susceptible to tuberculosis than those without the infection.
Primarily on the basis of an analysis of these outbreaks, various authorities have recommended measures to prevent the transmission of tuberculosis.
However, these recommendations have been criticised because their implementation would require massive expenditure in all hospitals that admit patients with tuberculosis, and there are no scientific data demonstrating the efficacy of these measures, the New England Journal of Medicine added.
However, Dr Hanson Nortey, Deputy Programme Manager of the National TB Control Programme (NTP) believes that if basic hospital control measures are practiced the numbers of health worker contracting the disease can be minimised.
According to him, health workers were at risk due to the exposure to the different kinds of patient they met daily especially undiagnosed Tb patients
Dr Nortey said recent assessment done by the NTP revealed that health workers were getting Tb – an issue which was of grave concern to the programme.
“The NTP would soon come out with a set of guidelines and also begin a process of screening health workers nationwide as an immediate measure.
“It is however important for health workers to practice basic infection control and not take it for granted,” he said.
It is not mere medical knowledge that can overcome the scourge of TB, people must just be careful and our medical staff who are at the forefront of the disease control must just be cautious to be worthy ambassadors of the war against the communicable disease.
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