Tuberculosis Myths And Facts
Raising awareness about tuberculosis (TB) is crucial in preventing its spread and ensuring that people receive proper treatment. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this disease that can lead to stigma and discrimination.
To end tuberculosis in Kenya, it is necessary to dispel the myths and misunderstandings surrounding this preventable and treatable disease.
Myth 1: All TB patients are HIV-positive
The 2016 Kenya TB prevalence survey revealed that 80% of TB patients were HIV-negative, indicating that the vast majority of TB patients are HIV-negative. However, those with a compromised immune system, such as those with HIV, diabetes, or certain types of cancer, have an elevated risk of contracting TB.
Myth 2: Sharing cutlery can cause tuberculosis
Sharing plates, cups, or spoons does not spread TB. When a person with active tuberculosis who is not taking medication coughs, sings, or sneezes, droplets are released that can infect anyone who breathes in the bacteria.
The majority of individuals with active tuberculosis who have received appropriate drug treatment for at least two weeks are no longer contagious.
Myth #3: TB is inherited.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Since the bacterium can infect anyone, family lineage is irrelevant. Due to close contact with an infected individual who is not receiving treatment, it affects members of the same household.
Myth 4: Tuberculosis is a disease of the poor
Fact: Anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, can contract the disease. Even though the disease is prevalent among low-income earners due to malnutrition and poor housing conditions, as the tuberculosis bacteria thrives in poorly ventilated areas, the disease is not widespread. No one is immune to tuberculosis.
Myth 5: TB cannot be cured
TB is a treatable and curable disease. Treatment for tuberculosis is readily available in Kenya and is free in all government health facilities. To be cured of tuberculosis, you must complete the entire course of treatment prescribed by a medical professional.
Myth 6: TB only affects the lungs
Fact: TB primarily affects the lungs, but it can also affect all other body parts besides the hair, nails, and teeth. Pulmonary TB refers to TB that occurs inside the lungs, whereas extra-pulmonary TB refers to TB that occurs outside the lungs.
Myth 7: If you have tuberculosis, you will be isolated.
Fact: Once a TB patient begins treatment and practices cough hygiene by covering their coughs with a hand, elbow, clean handkerchief, or tissue, the risk of infection to their contacts decreases, and they are no longer required to be isolated.
Patients with tuberculosis who have received the right medication for at least two weeks are no longer contagious.
Myth 8: If I don’t cough, I don’t have tuberculosis.
Fact: Although coughing is the most common symptom of pulmonary tuberculosis, other common symptoms of the disease include fever, night sweats, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, and swellings for extra-pulmonary TB.
To determine your status, get a regular TB screening. Kisumu after a fire in the school dormitory.
Tuberculosis Myths And Facts