Facts & Tips about TB

Posted by SM Maulana

(WangsaDaily).Recently, a case of Tuberculosis (TB) was reported. On Dec. 13th a California woman flew from New Delhi, India, to San Francisco on an American Airlines flight with a stop in Chicago. The woman, who is not being identified, has been infected with a dangerous strain of tuberculosis. She is receiving treatment at Stanford Hospital and appears to be stable. U.S. health officials are still searching for the 44 passengers who sat within close proximity of the infected individual. The CDC is recommending that individuals who were aboard the flight undergo testing, with follow-up in eight to 10 weeks.

Facts about tuberculosis and risk for travelers:

+ Tuberculosis is a deadly bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis

+ Not everyone infected develops the full-blown disease. If infected, however, the disease is most commonly associated with chronic pneumonia

+ Tuberculosis is a serious health problem, with its occurrence more common outside of the United States. In 2004, there were 14.6 million of chronic active TB cases, 8.9 million new cases, and 1.6 million deaths, mostly in developing countries.

+ Transmission occurs through the air when a contagious person expels and spreads via coughing, sneezing speaking, kissing, or spitting bacteria filled aerosol droplet

+ To become infected, a person usually has to be in prolonged, frequent, or intense contact with a contagious or diseased individual

To date, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the results of six investigations of possible tuberculosis transmission on commercial aircraft. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the risk of TB transmission on an airplane does not appear to be greater than in any other enclosed space.

CDC and WHO issued guidelines for notifying passengers who might have been exposed to tuberculosis aboard airplanes. Additionally, CDC encourages travelers, through registering with respected airlines, to provide their contact information, emergency contact/next-of-kin information, and travel itinerary information to ensure they can be reached in case of emergency. Contact your airline for specific registration procedures.

Prevention and treatment options:

+ Travelers with anticipated prolonged exposure to tuberculosis (e.g. those expected to be in contact with hospital, prison, or homeless shelter population) are advised to have a TB test before leaving the U.S. In case of negative result, the test should be repeated approximately 8-10 weeks after returning.

+ Avoid exposure to known tuberculosis patients in crowded environments.

+ To prevent the possibility of exposure to tuberculosis on airplanes, people known to have infectious TB are recommended to travel by private transportation (not by commercial carriers), if travel is required. Additionally, tuberculosis patients should cover coughs and sneezes to reduce spread.

+ Vaccine: in developing countries, the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is routinely used at birth. However, it is not routinely recommended in the U.S.

+ Treatment: travelers and other persons who suspect possible exposure to tuberculosis should inform their health care provider to receive appropriate medical evaluation and treatment.

Take the necessary precautions. Be a responsible traveler.


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