Tuberculosis, usually called TB, is a disease which can transmit easily through the air when an infected person speaks, laughs or coughs. It is caused by strain called Mycobacterium tuberculosis which is one of the most killing pathogen for adults especially in developing countries. Worldwide prevalence is more than 1.5 billion people and 10 % of those are drug resistant.
There are many kinds of TB such as primary TB, post-primary TB, pulmonary TB, miliary TB, meningeal TB, genitourinary TB, bone TB, skin TB, peritoneal TB and acute TB pericarditis etc. Among these, primary TB is the most common. TB occurrence and prevalence is still high in Myanmar although treatment is given for free at government hospitals and some clinics. So, the following tips will be needed to follow to avoid TB transmission as much as possible.
Not staying too close with people who has active TB disease
As it is an easily transmitted disease, not staying too close with people, who has active TB disease, is an obvious tip to follow. It is also required to follow especially if you have already tested positive for latent TB. Do not spending time too long with TB patients especially in warm and stuffy environment.
Making to know your risk
Certain groups of people are considered as more at-risk of developing TB compared to others. These people include people with weakened immune system such as those with HIV infection; people who live or care an active TB patient such as close relative or a doctor or nurse; people who live in crowded and confined areas such as prisons and nursing homes; and people who live in or travel to countries where active TB is common. If you are one of these groups, you are at-risk compared to others and so protecting yourself will be required.
Promote a healthy lifestyle
Healthy people are less susceptible to TB virus as their disease resistance is high. Promoting healthy lifestyle such as eating healthy and balance diet, doing regular exercises, avoiding smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and maintaining personal hygiene etc should be done.
TB transmission can be prevented with BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) vaccine which is used to prevent the spread of TB in many countries. In Myanmar, it is also included in childhood immunization program. For adults, vaccination should be done if they are in high-risk conditions or they are healthcare persons regularly contacting with TB patients or the ones who have close family member with active TB infection.
Wearing a face mask
As TB is transmitted by droplets appeared from coughing, talking or laughing of an active TB patient, wearing a face mask can prevent you from breathing in the TB pathogens. If a face mask cannot be easily available, a handkerchief or anything similar can be used instead.
Avoiding highly crowded areas
Highly crowded areas are also considered as high-risks areas because there can be many active TB patients. Avoiding these areas may reduce TB transmission. If impossible to avoid, wearing a face mask or something similar may be useful for protecting TB transmission.