This is an infection which has affected the human race for centuries. it is estimated that it may have been present since more than 3000 years in India. From being one of the biggest killers in 16th and 17th centuries, then being well controlled with anti-tuberculosis drugs, it has now resurfaced as a big threat in form of drug resistant tuberculosis.
India probably has the largest burden of tuberculosis and more importantly resistant tuberculosis in the world.
This infection is primarily acquired by inhaling the tuberculosis bacteria from another person who is harbouring active disease. It is a slow progressing disease and so patient may not have any complains for a long time. It typically starts bothering if body immunity is low. It is important to understand that tuberculosis can affect any part of the body. Most common is lung, abdomen, brain, bone. So patients may have different symptoms depending on which part of body is affected like cough, abdominal pain, headache or limb pain. Fever and weight loss are variably present. Tuberculosis is also one of the common cause of undetermined fever in our country.
Early diagnosis and treatment hold key to fast and good recovery from the illness. It is important to do tests which conclude presence of bacteria as well as see if it is susceptible or resistant tuberculosis. If the later part is missed problems may occur. Hence treatment especially in case of resistant cases should be under guidance of experts. Treatment is usually for 9 months to 1 year or more in case of resistant tuberculosis.