Tuberculosis

Description
  • A contagious disease found in both humans and animals and caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.
  • The disease attacks the lungs but can be found throughout the body in organs like the kidney and brain.
     
Location
  • TB is found worldwide and can be transmitted between animals and humans.
  • Africa and Asia have the highest number of infected individuals.
     
Cause

TB is caused by the spread of bacteria in the air in the of:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Speaking
  • Spitting
  • Laughing, etc.
     
  • Humans can contract TB by consuming the bacteria found in unpasteurized milk and other dairy products from an infected animal. 
  • TB found in cattle can spread easily to other animals that come in contact, including household pets.

     
Symptoms
  • Pulmonary TB (in the lungs) is the most common form of TB.
  • Those symptoms include:
    • A continuing cough
    • High fever
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Weight loss
    • Heavy night sweats
       
Treatment
  • A skin test is performed in order to diagnose tuberculosis in humans.
  • A positive skin test means that the individual is infected with TB.
  • A negative skin test means the TB infection or disease is not detected.
  • Two conditions can exist and therefore treatment can vary.
  • Those that have latent TB infection contain the bacteria but lack symptoms and cannot transmit TB to others. 
  • If infected, there are medications that can be used in order to prevent the infection from becoming TB disease.
  • TB disease means the bacteria is multiplying in the body and is therefore active and therefore it is classified as TB disease.
  • Those with the TB disease will experience being sick and having symptoms. Drugs can be used to fight the disease and this process can take several months.
     
Prevention
  • Be careful when traveling abroad and learn which areas may have an increase risk for contracting TB.
  • If you work in a health care facility where TB is likely, you are at a higher risk.
  • Make sure there are measures of disease control including airborne precautions, the proper treatment of those with TB, and early detection.
  • Stay away from animals that are infected with TB and be cautious not to breathe the same air.
     
Handling
Animals    
  • Cattle and other livestock are common animals that infect humans with TB.
  • Common signs in animals that are infected with TB are:
    • Weight loss
    • Weak appetite
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • A wet cough
    • Chronic mastitis (infection of the udder)
       
Other Facts
  • Individuals with a weak immune system are at an increased risk for TB.
  • Isolate animals that are infected and do not get too close to them.