How does tuberculosis spread?

Even in the capital of Russia, hundreds of people are infected with this disease every year. Until now, more than ten million people are infected annually with Koch’s bacillus, and about a third of the world’s population are infected. The problem is that only half of those infected know about it.

The causative agent of tuberculosis is Koch’s bacillus, which spreads in various ways: through tactile contact, through the air, even through food. Until now, this disease is considered deadly, and the danger is added by the fact that no one is insured: tuberculosis knows no boundaries between races, social strata, and the economic well-being of the country’s population. etc.

The causative agent of tuberculosis is Koch’s sticks

The situation of the spread of the disease is aggravated by the fact that the disease can be infected not only from humans, but also from animals and birds. More than 80 species of birds and about 50 species of mammals can get sick.

In the epidemiological aspect, this disease, found in cats, dogs, sheep, goats, cows, also poses a danger to humans. So, the milk of a sick cow or goat can become a source of infection. And sometimes there are cases when milkmaids or butchers became infected from sick animals: the blood of a sick animal can, for example, get into micro-wounds on the hands. That is why goats and cows are the most dangerous carriers of tuberculosis.

It is important to note that it is not always possible to get infected while near the patient. If a closed form of the disease is diagnosed, then the bacteria are not released into the air, so the person is not contagious. That is why the most dangerous in the epidemiological aspect are those patients who excrete a large number of infectious bacteria (called MBT) with sputum. This is called open tuberculosis.

Goats and cows are the most dangerous carriers of tuberculosis
Goats and cows are the most dangerous carriers of tuberculosis

  • In one day, an infected person can excrete up to seven billion of these dangerous MBT bacteria. Thus, up to two hundred thousand people can be infected per year by one patient with an open form of the disease. The situation is aggravated by the fact that bacteria are excreted both with phlegm in the cough, and with urine, pus.

A person becomes contagious when Koch’s wand opens its capsule. Initially, the stick has a dense shell to protect it from external influences from an aggressive environment. However, then the protection of microbacteria melts, wounds form in the lungs, and the person becomes infectious and is able to infect other people.

As for the risk of infection, it is the higher, the longer and longer contact with the patient. It is unlikely that you will become infected if you just pass next to the patient in the same bus. But if this is a neighbor in the staircase or a colleague from the same department, then the risk becomes many times higher. Indeed, in this case, bacteria seed the room in which you are often located: an office room, a staircase.

How does tuberculosis spread?
Photo: Depositphotos

In advanced economies, morbidity, infection and mortality rates are relatively low, but in countries with weak economies, tuberculosis often takes more lives than wars. It is important to take precautions so that this dangerous disease spreads less and less.

Finally – about the precautions to avoid contracting tuberculosis. Firstly, you should not buy milk and meat from your hands and in the markets, because these products may not have passed the quality test. You also need to follow the basic rules of personal hygiene – wash your hands after visiting public places and dealing with money.


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