Editor's note: As the World marks World TB Day, YEN.com.gh explores the basic facts you need to know about the deadly disease and how best you can protect yourself from it.
World TB Day, falling on March 24th each year, is aimed at building public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world as it is documented to causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries.
Even as Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark the day, we explore 5 facts you need to know about Tuberculosis.
1. TB is still a public health problem worldwide including Ghana
Tuberculosis has been documented to be one of the world's most deadliest diseases as millions get infected each year with over 9 million documented to contract the disease. In Africa alone, about 1.5 million deaths are recorded each year despite clinical interventions to stem the situation.
2. Everyone who contracts TB does not get sick
Not everyone infected with TB becomes sick with the disease. People who become infected, but are not sick have what is called latent TB infection (LTBI) this means they do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB bacteria to others.
3. Some persons are more at risk of contracting the disease
While anyone can get TB disease, some people who get infected with TB bacteria are more likely to get sick. You have a higher chance of getting TB disease if you
4. There are advanced tests to detect TB infection
A skin test or a TB blood test can be used to detect TB infection. The Mantoux tuberculin skin test is performed by injecting a small amount of fluid (called tuberculin) into the skin in the lower part of the arm. A person given the tuberculin skin test must return within 48 to 72 hours to have a trained health care worker look for a reaction on the arm. The TB blood test measures how the person's immune system reacts to the bacteria that cause TB.
Not all people need a TB test. You should get a TB test if you are at increased risk.
5. TB is treatable
TB disease can be treated by taking medicine. It is very important that people take the drugs exactly as they are told. If you stop taking the drugs too soon, you can become sick again. If you do not take the drugs correctly, the bacteria that are still alive may become difficult to treat with those drugs. You should take medicine as recommended by a doctor.
Credit: Center for Disease Control (CDC)