TB, an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a leading cause of illness worldwide and is the number one cause of death in people with HIV/AIDS.  TB most commonly affects the lungs and the disease is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease.  The symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Infection is usually indicated by a

positive tuberculin skin test (TST) or interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA).  Tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.

Vietnam ranks 12 out of the 22 highest TB-burden countries identified by WHO.  TB is the second cause of death in people with infectious diseases in Vietnam, where more than 100,000 new TB patients and 17,000 deaths of TB recorded every year, HCMC accounts for 13-15 percent.

Higher risk populations for developing active TB are:

            HIV infected

            Infected with TB bacteria in the last two years

            Babies and young children

            Inject illegal drugs

            Sick with diseases that compromise the immune system

            Elderly people

            Those were not treated correctly for TB in the past

Prevention:

WHO recommends BCG vaccine (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) for infants in parts of the world that the disease is common. It is effective in protecting small children from severe TB complication.  However, it does not protect adults well against lung TB which is easiest to spread to others. 

TB transmission can be prevented through adequate ventilation and limited contact with infected patient.

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