Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a very serious bacterial infection of the lungs. The disease is transmitted through the air. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the Mycobactierium tuberculosis bacteria that is responsible for the infection, is spread in the air and can be inhaled by others.
When the bacteria get into the lungs it grows and can spread into the bloodstream affecting the spine, brain, and kidneys.
 
If you think that your child has been exposed to TB it is crucial that your child see a doctor. In babies and young children, complications such as meningitis is common so treatment should begin immediately. TB is detected by a skin test that is performed on the forearm. An extract of TB bacteria is injected into the skin and checked after 48 to 72 hours. If a bump appears, the doctor will examine the bump to determine if it is TB.
 
If the test is positive, this means that the infection is in the bloodstream. However, this does not mean that the disease is active. The doctor will have chest X-rays done to determine if the infection is actually in the lungs. If it is determined that the infection is not in the lungs, but merely in the bloodstream, a medication will be prescribed that must be take for nine months. The medication will prevent the infection from developing in the lungs. If the disease has progressed to the lungs, a child will be given several medications that must be taken for six months to clear the infection.
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