symptoms and treatments.
For many years, tuberculosis was all but eradicated in the United States, however, in recent years it has begun to make a comeback. While researchers scramble to determine what is behind the recent rise in cases, medical professionals are working to battle its existence. M. Tuberculosis, which is at the root of the majority of newly reported cases is a treatable disorder, however, it depends almost entirely on patient compliance, which can be a significant roadblock to success. It is important for medical professionals to be able to convey to patients the importance of compliance if the U.S. is going to reduce the number of new cases now and in the future.
Description of the Disorder
Before one can understand the steps being taken to battle tuberculosis, it is important to have an understanding of the disease itself. M. Tuberculosis, is a disease that is caused by the Mycobaterium bacteria. In most cases the bacteria attacks the lungs, though it has been found in other organs and areas of the infected body. Some of the places that it can impact include the kidney, spine, and brain (Questions and answers about TB (http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/tb/faqs/qa.htm).
Tuberculosis is a serious disease, that if left untreated, can be fatal.
One of the reasons the medical community is concerned with the recent rise in TB incidence is because there was a time when TB was the number one killer in the United States (Questions and answers about TB (http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/tb/faqs/qa.htm).
Tuberculosis is spread through the air. If a person who has a case of active TB coughs, or sneezes, those droplets are sent through the air and anyone that is near that person can become infected.
In addition, if the infected person sneezes into his hand or coughs into his hand and then touches a surface, the person who next touches the surface can become infected.
One of the interesting things about TB is that not everyone who comes in contact and becomes with the disease will become ill with the disease.
They have something referred to as latent TB.
People who have latent TB can take medication to prevent themselves from becoming actively infected.
The history of TB in the United States dates back to the 1880's at which time it was almost always fatal.
Beginning in the 1940's there were scientists working to cure the disease when they discovered the first medication to treat TB. Today there are several that can be chosen from (Questions and answers about TB (http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/tb/faqs/qa.htm).
Between the 1940's and the 1970's the nation became lax in its viligence and tuberculosis began to make a comeback.
Part of this increase can be attributed to the nation letting its guard down when it came to TB control efforts and as a result of this TB began to rise again between 1985 and 1992.
In 2003, there were more than 14,000 cases of TB reported in the United States (Questions and answers about TB (http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/tb/faqs/qa.htm).
How it Spreads
While it is a commonly known fact that Tuberculosis is spread through air contact, there are many ways that it can become airborne. The most common method of transmission of course, occurs when an infected person coughs or sneezes and others come into contact with the air droplets.