Tuberculosis :


Tuberculosis remains a very common disease throughout the world. Tuberculosis, or TB, is a chronic bacterial infection. Rarely, it can produce disease within several weeks and commonly it can lay dormant for many years before producing symptoms.

Exposure to the infection is usually through the lungs. Within several months of exposure, there is often a spot that develops on the x-ray of the lungs. The spread of the disease is generally limited. However, the disease sometimes becomes reactivated. This can occur when the immune system is compromised. Chronic illness, alcoholism, the use of immunosuppressive drugs, AIDS and cancer can all produce this situation.

Cause of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is caused by the microorganism, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The germ is transmitted in the air from one person to another, and through cows with non-pasteurized milk. Frequently, onset of clinical symptoms and progression of the disease can be tied to impairment or damage to the immune system.

Signs and Symptoms

Most commonly, early stages of tuberculosis have no symptoms. Sometimes, the person infected may have cough and fever. As the disease progresses, it produces more apparent symptoms. These include fever, weight loss, chronic fatigue, and heavy sweating, especially at night.

As tuberculosis worsens in the lungs, it produces sputum that becomes progressively bloody, yellow, thick or gray. There is often chest pain or discomfort and shortness of breath. Cloudy or reddish urine can occur. Other symptoms can develop when other organ systems become involved, such as the brain. Lumps may develop in the nasal cavity.
Pott's disease or tuberculosis of the spine is associated with back pain, fever, chills and night sweats. Varying degrees of weakness or numbness may occur in the legs or around the genitals and rectum.

Symptoms of Yellow Fever

In mild cases the symptoms are similar to influenza, but serious cases develop a high fever and may lead to internal bleeding, kidney failure and meningitis. A classic feature of yellow fever is hepatitis, which is the reason for the yellow coloring of the skin (jaundice) and the name of the disease.

Treatment of Yellow Fever

There is no effective treatment against the yellow fever virus. The initial flue-like symptoms can be treated with ibuprofen or aspirin. Serious cases will always have to be hospitalized. The mortality rate for yellow fever ranges from 5 to 40 percent. Best get that vaccine if you are able to.

How Can I Avoid It?

If you are traveling in an area where yellow fever is endemic (see map) you should get the vaccination and also avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Wear long sleeves and long pants, use an insect repellent containing DIET, sleep under a mosquito net at night and try and stay in rooms with air-conditioning or a fan. Burning a mosquito coil at night is also very effective at keeping the mosquitoes away.

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