TB Awareness is integral to not only a healthy society, but an educated and informed one. A disease that impacts many people on a day to day basis, Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that hits mainly in the lungs, although the bacteria can spread through the bloodstream and affect any organ in the human body – as your blood system runs through every organ in your body.

This curable and preventable disease is the cause of thousands of deaths every year, not only in South Africa, but across Africa and the globe. A disease that shows the wealth gap in the world, it can be cured in a few days in first world countries, but is responsible for hundreds of deaths in third world countries. Tuberculosis can be transmitted from one person to another via liquids from the lung or throat, this can include coughing on someone or transference of saliva. The World Health Organisation estimates that the largest number of new TB cases in 2005 occurred in south-east Asia, which accounted for approximately 34% of incident cases recorded globally.

Signs and symptoms of active TB may include:

  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing that lasts three or more weeks
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue

The international day for TB awareness, or World TB Day, falls on March 24th each year and is designed to build and maintain public awareness about Tuberculosis. As well as how today it still remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. The actually delegation of the day itself on the specific date is there to commemorates the day in 1882 when the well-known Dr Robert Koch greatly surprised the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of Tuberculosis. He had found the TB bacillus, a bacterium that is the major cause of tuberculosis along with other catalyst-type causes. Koch’s discovery allowed the scientific community to identify the nature of and potential cures of tuberculosis.

The main purpose of Tuberculosis Awareness month is to support global efforts towards controlling TB through increasing knowledge of the disease and developing solutions to stop the spread of TB on a day to day basis, through common interactions. TB month is an annual event where there are activities planned that encourage governments and health facilities across the globe to reach out to communities and create programs in an attempt to increase the awareness around the Tuberculosis disease.

It is very important that people are educated and made aware of all the signs and symptoms of TB, not only for themselves, but for the safe keeping of those close to them.