Tuberculosis has also been known over the years as ‘consumption’ or ‘the White Plague’. Regardless of the name, it has made a revival in recent years and is showing no signs of dying out. The killer lung disease has now been found in the refugees camps of Europe. And with little or no medical equipment or even the qualified medics to diagnose it, (Médecins Sans Frontières has moved out today), it is spreading fast. So what is TB, how can it be prevented and is there a cure?
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is contagious and spreads from person to person via infection airborne droplets, released when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Tuberculosis is a lung disease
TB is most known as a condition that affects a sufferer’s lungs (as this bacteria is the most contagious), but there are also strains that affect other parts of the body such as the glands, bones, and nervous system.
Tuberculosis shows itself in many ways
A persistent cough, lots of phlegm, sometimes spattered with blood, night sweats, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and swellings in the neck.
Tuberculosis IS NOT AS CONTAGIOUS AS YOU THINK
While we all know TB is contagious, did you know that in most healthy people, the immune system can fend off the TB bacteria fairly pronto. Sometimes, even if the immune system cannot kill off the bacteria, it will stop it from spreading and there won’t be any symptoms either – this is known ‘latent TB’. It gets serious when the immune system is so weak, it cannot destroy or even minimise the bacteria. Latent TB can sit dormant then become ‘activated years down the line if a person’s immune system becomes weaker for whatever reason.
Tuberculosis IS curable!
A long course of antibiotics can do the job but it must be spotted early through chest X-rays, blood test and skin tests, too. Equipment and tests that the 6 volunteer medics working in the Calais Refugee camp tragically do not have…
Tuberculosis likes crowds… especially refugee camps like Calais, France.
TB is mainly contagious when it is allowed to spread and people living in crowded, damp conditions, such those living in refugee camps are more susceptible than most. Unfortunately, there is limited opportunity for early detection in such conditions, and so those with weaker immune systems, the very young and elderly, and people, in general ill-health, are more susceptible.
How can you help to stop the spread of TB?
Donate to Ian Shaw’s Calais fund and 100% of the proceeds will go towards buying medical supplies and shelter supplies for those refugees stuck on the border at Calais. Those most susceptible to infections like these and which are making their daily lives more uncomfortable and painful than they need to be. Donate now. Save lives.
information sources: BT/NHS/MD