Last update: 2023-06-23
- Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis)
- TB most often affects the lungs.
- Tuberculosis is both curable and preventable.
- TB is spread from person to person through the air.
- When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
Most vulnerable to severe consequences
- People living with HIV or suffering from other conditions that decrease people’s immune defences, such as diabetes, are especially vulnerable.
- Children are vulnerable because of their weaker immune systems.
Most vulnerable to contracting the disease
- Tuberculosis mostly affects adults. However, all age groups are at risk.
- People living in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces where there are people with infectious TB. These can include prisoners, migrants and socially marginalized people.
- People who are infected with HIV are 18 times more likely to develop active TB.
- People with undernutrition are 3 times more at risk.
- Alcohol use disorder and tobacco smoking increase the risk of TB.
- Cough with sputum and blood at times
- Chest pains
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
What can you do to prevent and control an epidemic?
Prevention and control
- Community awareness and identifying people suspected to have TB
- Inform communities on main symptoms of TB
- Identify people with TB symptoms in the community
- Promote basic precautionary measures for infection control and social distance advice at family and community levels
Treatment and management
- Identify and refer symptomatic cases to health facilities.
- Provide psychosocial support to those under treatment and their family members.
- Support people with TB in your community to adhere to treatment. That is, to take medication according to the recommendations of a health care provider. Adherence is important for people with TB to get better, to control the spread of infection, and to minimize drug resistance.
Social mobilization and health education / promotion
- Priority health education target groups are at risk groups and those who are sick with TB and their families.
- Stigma against TB and TB/HIV should be strongly addressed
Mapping and community assessment
- Make a map of the community.
- Mark the following information on the map:
- How many people identified with TB symptoms? Where?
- How many people have been referred to health services?
- Who and where are the vulnerable people?
- Where are the local health facilities and services?
- Where do people obtain their medication?
- Record the following information on the back of the map:
- When did people start to observe TB symptoms?
- How many people live in the affected community? How many are children under five years?
- Are there people in the area living with HIV?
- What are the community’s knowledge, practices and beliefs about TB and TB-HIV coinfection?
- Amongst those people with TB, what are the knowledge, concerns and beliefs about TB treatment?
- Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
- Are TB treatment services accessible?
- Which sources do people use/trust the most for information?
- Are there rumours or misinformation about TB
- What are the rumours?