Tuberculosis is a chronic disease caused by several species of the germ, mycobacterium collectively called the tubercle bacillus. Tuberculosis in man is usually caused by the human and bovine varieties of the bacillus M. tuberculosis and M.Bovis respectively. It is one of the most widespread of all diseases and is found throughout the world.
During the 19th century, casualties from various battles numbered some 19 million persons, but during the period, the tubercle bacillus slew 34 million. In the U.S alone in 1970, the number of infected persons was estimated at 16 million. This period was followed by a decline owing to appropriate control measures.
The disease is steadily becoming more in common developing as well as the more advanced countries with high living standards and active public health measures.
Tuberculosis infection result in the great majority of cases from the inhalation of the tubercle bacilli. The most likely source of the organism is the sputum of a patient with pulmonary tuberculosis coughs; he infects the air in the immediate environment with millions of the germs which is subsequently inhaled by a susceptible person. The bacilli may be inhaled from sputum which has dried and had been changed to dust. Infection may also result from ingestion of organism transferred to the mouth on finger or article such as feeding utensils which have been contaminated by an infected person. Bovine tuberculosis results from drinking unpasteurized milk of tuberculosis cattle.
The occurrence of tuberculosis is highest among low socioeconomic groups. Mortality is much higher among the poor than the rich. Poverty, with its associate evil of poor inadequate housing, overcrowding housing, overcrowded housing together with malnutrition and in particular deficiency of first class proteins contributes to the risk of acquiring tuberculosis. Poor health resulting from other infections particular infections with parasite worms predisposes a community to tuberculosis. Both sexes are equally affected in infancy and childhood, but the prevalence is higher in males than in females especially among the elderly.Death rate increase with age. There is no established genetic predisposition to tuberculosis. A confirmed diagnosis of TB can only be carried out in a clinical laboratory. But from answering the following questions, you can estimate your risk of having the disease.
Encircle the letter “Y” if the answer is yes or if statement is positive.
Encircle letter “N” if the answer is No or if the statement is negative.
1. Are you a city dweller?Y/N
2. Have you lived in the city for up to or more than ten years? Y/ N
3. Are you up 50 years or above? Y /N
4. Do you live in a poorly ventilated house? Y/ N
5. Do you live in an over-crowded room (rooms)? Y/ N (over-crowding means less than 20m of living space person)
6.Is your diet deficient in protein and vitamins? Y/ N
7.Do you work in a dusty environment? Y /N
8.You have not had BCG vaccination? Y/ N
9.Do earn less than N250.00 per month? Y/N
10.Do you have frequent fever? Y/ N
11.Have you noticed any gradual loss of weight in you? Y/N
12.Do you have persistent cough? Y/ N
13.Have you ever had close contact with a known tuberculosis patient? Y/ N
14.Does your cough occasionally or normally contain blood? Y/ N.
15.Do you now have or have you ever had blood-stained sputum? Y/ N
16.Are you easily fatigued? Y /N
17.Do you have recurrent chest pain? Y/ N
18.Do you have difficulty in breathing? Y/N
19.Do you now live with a family member who has chronic coughs? Y/ N
20.Do you live in a dusty area? Y/N
To find out the chances that you now have or may develop active tuberculosis in the future, add up all the items you have circled Y. the following table indicates the likelihood of having TB.
15-20 extremely likely
10-14 moderately like
05 – 09 Average
00- 04 very unlikely