World Tuberculosis Day

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Every year,  World TB Day is recognized on March 24th.  This is an event to commemorate the date when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).

World TB Day is a day to educate the public about the impact of TB around the world. This year’s theme is ‘Yes! We can end TB’.

This year is meant to shine a spotlight on ending TB and the suffering it causes to millions, and to call for comprehensive and universal care for those affected.

TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Each day, close to 4400 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill . In Kenya, TB is the fifth leading cause of death.

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a type of bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It’s spread when a person with active TB disease in their lungs coughs or sneezes and someone else inhales the expelled droplets, which contain TB bacteria.

There are 3 stages of TB—exposure, latent, and active disease. A TB skin test or a TB blood test can diagnose the disease.

Treatment exactly as recommended is necessary to cure the disease and prevent its spread to other people.

Symptoms include:  Bad cough (lasting longer than two weeks), pain in your chest, coughing up blood or sputum, fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, chills and fever.

To prevent TB from spreading, Always cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Seal the tissue in a plastic bag, then throw it away. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing. Don’t visit other people and don’t invite them to visit you.

BY NKATHA WAINAINA

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