CHFT's Tuberculosis Specialist Nurse Mary Hardcastle, pictured back right, is spearheading the local awareness campaign ahead of World TB day on Sunday. World TB Day aims to keep tuberculosis high on the global and national agenda and has a theme of It's Time. (see below)
Here, Mary explains all:
What is TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious illness caused by the airborne bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB can cause serious health problems – particularly if it is not caught early. But the illness is curable and testing and treatment are free and confidential in the UK, regardless of immigration status.
How common is TB in the UK?
TB cases in the UK are still low – but they have increased since the 1980s. Every year around 6,000 people are diagnosed with TB. Most people are successfully cured with a free course of treatment.
What is the TB picture globally?
Every year, around the world 8.6 million people are diagnosed with TB, and 1.3 million die of the disease. This is mainly because they cannot get the drugs that would make them better.
The most common symptoms of TB are:
•a cough for three weeks or longer
•loss of appetite
•high temperature or fever
•extreme tiredness or lack of energy.
What does TB treatment involve?
TB treatment is for at least six months, to make sure all the TB bacteria are killed. If you have TB of the lungs or throat, after two weeks of treatment you should no longer be infectious.
Gradually you will start to feel better. This may take weeks, but you will stop feeling sick and tired all the time. Even when you feel better, it’s important to take the full course of your treatment, or you could become ill again.
**This year's theme - It's Time - is aimed at ensuring the world is reminded of the commitments made and the timely need for action in scale up, research, funding, human rights and accountability.