- March 24 was World TB Day
- The disease, although preventable and curable, still claims a high death toll
Linda-Gail Bekker is Professor of Medicine at Cape Town University, Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Center, and President-elect of the International AIDS Society. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN)Each year, March 24 marks World Tuberculosis Day. One day in the year when the world's lens will focus on the fact that almost 4,000 people globally die every day as a result of this preventable, curable disease.
- A person infected with TB disease shows signs of symptoms and usually feels ill.
- Symptoms include coughing up blood, fever, chills, night sweats, shortness of breath, chest pains, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fatigue.
- It is possible to spread the TB bacteria from the infected person to others.
- A skin or blood test will indicate if a person has been infected with the bacteria.
- Treatment with antibiotics for 4-9 months is required to treat active TB disease.
- Persons with a weak immune system, such as those with HIV or diabetes, are more prone to catching the TB disease.
- TB is a leading cause of death for people infected with HIV.