Myths about Tuberculosis: There are many myths about tuberculosis and among them, some glaringly false notions about TB are discussed here.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection which spreads mainly in lungs. Early treatment is very important if you are infected with TB as it can cause death. Lack of information has resulted in a no. of myths about tyberculosis.
- Tuberculosis occurs only in lower income populations – Whether you are going to contract the tuberculosis infection or not has nothing to do with your income. The infection can affect anyone but certain sections of the population are more prone. These are immigrants, people having weak immunity, the elderly, homeless, inmates, and the like. Your chances of contracting the disease increases if you come in contact with these people. But it has nothing to do with low income groups in population as the groups mentioned above may belong to higher income category too.
- Tuberculosis is genetic – TB is not caused by genetic factors. It occurs after the infection from mycobacteria. It spreads from one person to another only through the air. You can contract the disease after inhaling the bacteria.
- Tuberculosis occurs only in developing countries – Although it is correct that the virus for tuberculosis is prevalent mostly in Asian and African countries, most of which are developing, the developed countries can suffer too. This is mainly because millions of immigrants to these countries from developing countries. Many of them are passive carriers of the bacteria that cause this infection, while not showing any TB symptoms. Such migration into countries such as USA can result in many people getting infected.
- Testing positive for TB means that the person has the disease – There are many people who are carriers of the infection without showing symptoms. A positive TB test only shows that you are infected. To make sure whether you have the disease or not, an X-ray would be needed. Although the infected people may need to take antibiotics to safeguard from any chances of the infection developing into disease.
- Smoking can cause Tuberculosis – Tuberculosis is not directly the result of smoking. Nonetheless, smoking does raise the risk of TB as it weakens your lungs. People whose lungs are strong have better immunity and their body can either kill the bacteria that cause tuberculosis or render it inactive.
- BCG Vaccination offers guaranteed protection from TB – All the BCG vaccination does is prevent a very severe form of tuberculosis from developing in children. Whether the adults get any prevention benefit at all is very debatable and many experts disagree on this issue. Many BCG vaccinated people go on to contract the infection.
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