Tuberculosis
Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tuberculosis is a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria that primarily affects the lung. Dr. Ed Hill tells us more about this condition in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Tuberculosis is infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB typically occurs after repeated or prolonged exposure to the coughing of an actively infected person.

Infection can involve any organ of the body, but the lungs are the most common site of damage. In active infection, there is damage to the organs. In latent infection, the person carries the bacteria but does not have signs of active infection. Latent TB infection is important to diagnose and treat because it can become active infection.

Multidrug-resistant TB is resistant to standard antibiotics and usually arises from improper or incomplete treatment of TB infection or exposure to a person with this type of bacterium.

Symptoms vary depending on the patientís age and which organs are infected. They can include fever, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, persistent cough that may contain bloody sputum and difficulty breathing or chest pain with breathing.

Treatment usually involves a regimen of three or four antibiotics taken for a minimum of six to nine months. Treatment of multidrug-resistant TB requires additional medication and may last several years.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Ed Hill.