Is tuberculosis a modern health concern?
Every year on March 24, hospitals around the U.S. recognize World TB Day. March 24 is the anniversary of the date on which Dr. Robert Koch announced that he’d discovered the cause of tuberculosis , Mycobacterium tuberculosis . Since that day in 1882, researchers have made remarkable strides in treating and preventing this serious disease. Although TB is no longer a leading cause of death among Americans, it’s still a health concern. At Southern Hills Hospital, we applaud the public health advocates who are working tirelessly toward a TB-free world.
Tuberculosis control efforts
TB was once a widely feared disease in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it killed one out of every seven people during the early 1900s.
Although the bacterium that causes TB was discovered in 1882, it wasn’t until the 1940s that doctors had drugs to treat it. For the next few decades, the incidence rate of TB in the U.S. declined. Unfortunately, there was a resurgence of TB during the 1970s and 1980s.
TB is both preventable and curable, but it continues to be a health concern today. This is partly because of the rise of drug-resistant TB. This means that the disease doesn’t respond well to certain drugs used to treat it.
Tuberculosis is a very serious disease that requires emergency care. TB often settles in the lungs, where the bacteria attack the tissue and can even create holes in the lungs. TB is identifiable by the following signs and symptoms.
- Chest pain
- Severe cough that can last longer than three weeks
- Cough that produces blood or sputum
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
The drugs used to treat active TB usually need to be taken for at least six months. It’s very important that patients complete the full course of medication. Otherwise, drug-resistant TB can develop.
When a serious or persistent infection affects your family, the emergency care providers at Southern Hills Hospital are here to help 24/7, every day of the year. The health and safety of our patients are important to us because they are our neighbors in Las Vegas. Call 911 if you have a true medical emergency, or call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023 if you have general questions about our medical services.