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Essay Example: Symptoms of Tuberculosis

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Middlebury College
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According to the World Health Organization (2017), the primary symptoms of active lung tuberculosis include coughing. In some cases, the cough has sputum and blood. Coughing usually lasts for more than three weeks. Tuberculosis is also characterized by fever, loss of weight, sweating at night, fatigue, and chest pains. Other symptoms of tuberculosis include chills and loss of appetite (Centre for Disease Control, 2016).

Mode of Transmission

Tuberculosis is spread mainly through droplet infection and droplet nuclei. These droplets are given out when a patient with the disease coughs. Coughing leads to the production of many droplets of various sizes. For transmission of the infection to occur, these droplets must be fresh to sustain the lives of the bacterium. Some of the factors which influence the diseases transmission rate include the frequency and vigor of a cough and how well the environment is ventilated.


Some of the complications associated with the disease include joint damage, heart disorders, kidney problems, meningitis, and spinal pain.


Tuberculosis can be treated and cured. Treatment of the disease is achieved through the use of 4 antimicrobial drugs. The treatment lasts for six months. During this period, the patient is under the management and support of a healthcare staff. This support is needed to ensure that the patient adheres to the treatment. The patient is also provided with information relevant to the treatment or the drugs. Tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment has saved the lives of more than 53 million people, between 2000 and 2016 (World Health Organization, 2017).

Mortality and Morbidity

According to the World Health Organization (2017), tuberculosis is one of the worlds top ten causes of deaths globally. In the past year, more than 10 million people were reported to be infected with the disease. Out of this number, 1.7 million of them lost their lives to the disease. Out of the 1.7 million deaths, 400,000 were individuals living with HIV. More than 95% of tuberculosis-related deaths happen in countries with low income and those with middle incomes. World Health Organization (2017) reports that 250,000 deaths in children were attributable to tuberculosis, out of about 1 million children who were diagnosed with the disease. High tuberculosis deaths have also been reported in HIV-positive individuals. It is the leading cause of death in HIV-infected people. In 2016, 40% of HIV-positive individuals died because of tuberculosis. Some of the conditions associated with tuberculosis include HIV and tuberculous meningitis.


According to the Centre for Disease Control (2017), tuberculosis is one of the worlds leading causes of ill health. Approximately 33% of the global population is infected with tuberculosis. In the past year. 10.4 million people were diagnosed with tuberculosis disease and close to 2 million of them died due to the disease. Most of the deaths were reported in HIV-positive patients. In the United States, of 2.9 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 individuals was reported

Reporting of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a reportable disease. Reporting of the disease is categorized as either general reporting, with a person having a knowledge of a person with the disease being mandated to report the facts about the disease to a local health officer or the department of health of a specific state or county.

The first category of people tasked with reporting the disease is healthcare staff. They are required to report the confirmed cases of the disease to the [TB Program] in the Department not later than 24 hours from the time of noticing the disease. After the notification, the [TB Program] is mandated to notify the board of health of the community where the disease was identified. This must also be done within 24 hours.

The second category of people tasked with reporting cases of tuberculosis those working in the laboratories. Specifically, an individual who runs a clinical laboratory is needed to report cases of the disease to the official local department of health or the state department of health after positive findings of the disease. Such notification must specify the date and the results of clinical tests performed as well the identity of the person with the disease. Also, the address of the person infected with the disease should be given out. The third category of individuals mandated to report incidences of the disease includes administrators. Lastly, federal or tribal entities (specifically, licensed doctors and individuals running healthcare facilities) are also required to report incidences of the disease.

Determinants of Health in Tuberculosis

Some of the social determinants of health in tuberculosis include poverty. The relationship between poverty and tuberculosis incidences can be explained regarding the environmental conditions associated with poverty. Poverty is manifested by poorly ventilated houses and malnutrition. These are the two most significant predictors of the disease (Hargreaves et al., 2011).

The Epidemiologic Triangle

The Epidemiologic Triangle refers to a model used by scientists to study health problems. It is useful in understating how infectious diseases spread. The triangle is comprised of three vertices or corners. One of the vertices, the what, of the triangle seeks to address the causative agent of the disease. Another corner, the who, seeks to address the host that harbors the disease. Lastly, the environment corner of the Triangle is concerned with addressing the external factors responsible for transmitting the disease.

The Agent

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium, whose scientific name is Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is an immobile, acid-fast, and an obligate aerobe. The bacterium takes about 15 to 2 hours to double its population. Its length has been reported to be 2-4 um. The bacterium also has a distinct cell wall comprised of mycolic acids. Unlike another bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis show resistance to both chemicals and drying, hence can easily be transmitted.

The Host

The host organism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a human being.

The Environment.

The environmental factors associated with the disease include poorly ventilated houses and malnutrition. Other factors include overcrowding, HIV, urban housing, smoking, drug abuse, and alcohol use (Hargreaves et al., 2011)

The Role of the Community Health Nurse

The Community Health Nurse has a vital role in the prevention of tuberculosis. They provide health education to school-going children regarding tuberculosis prevention strategies.

National Agency or Organization for Tuberculosis

National Tuberculosis Controllers Association (NTCA) vision is a world free of order to realize this vision, NTCA develops a common voice for individuals tasked with controlling the disease with the aim of advancing and advocating tuberculosis control and eradication throughout the USA. It also works in collaboration with tuberculosis-related organizations in control an eradication of the disease. Moreover, it champions for laws and policies needs to control and eliminate tuberculosis (NTCA, 2017).

Global Implication of the Disease

Base on the prevalence of tuberculosis disease, countries have been classified as either a high burden or low burden. High burden countries (22 countries) are those with many cases of the disease. These countries reported 83% of all estimated cases of the disease in 2014 (TBfacts Organization, 2016). Countries with the highest cases of the disease are those with low income or those with middle income. One of these countries is India, which is currently being assisted by the World Health Organization and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) to reduce cases of the disease as well as new infections. Some of the strategies used in India include the use of Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS) strategy (Sandhu, 2011)



CDC (2017). Data and Statistics. Retrieved from

Hargreaves, J. R., Boccia, D., Evans, C. A., Adato, M., Petticrew, M., & Porter, J. D. H. (2011). The social determinants of tuberculosis: from evidence to action. American Journal of Public Health, 101(4), 654662.

NTCA (2017). NTCA. Retrieved from, G. K. (2011). Tuberculosis: current situation, challenges and overview of its control programs in India. Journal of Global Infectious Diseases, 3(2), 143150. (2017). Tuberculosis. Retrieved from (2017). Tuberculosis. Retrieved from

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