Tuberculosis a forgotten disease is on the rise again tixio

Tuberculosis – a forgotten disease is on the rise againVaccination against tuberculosis has not been available in Germany since 1998 because there are too few people with the disease. The infectious disease was thought to have been defeated and was no longer an ie, but that has now changed dramatically as the lung disease has returned. In just one year, the number of new cases increased from 4500 in 2014 to 5850 a year later. The reason for the steadily increasing numbers is the migration wave, because many asylum seekers bring tuberculosis from their home countries to Germany with them.

Bacteria are the trigger

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The tuberculosis, Tb or Tbc, in former times also Consumption, is caused by bacteria that are transmitted by air and then attack the lungs. There are different forms of tuberculosis, which is curable today, but still poses a danger to people with a weak immune system. Primarily the lungs are affected, but other parts of the body such as the pleura, meninges, digestive tract, urinary tract, skin and bones can also be affected by the TB bacteria be affected. This is however rather rarely the case, then since a droplet infection is responsible for the contagion, the Pathogen the lungs from.

Not a rare disease

Estimated about one third of the people worldwide is infected with tuberculosis pathogens. But only between five and ten percent of those infected also contract Tbc. Most of the diseases and deaths occur in developing countries, especially in Asia and Africa. In India, there are around two million cases of tuberculosis every year; worldwide, there are seven million New cases per year. One and a half million people die from the disease. Due to the wave of refugees, tuberculosis has now also arrived in Germany again. Since 2012, 127 people in Germany have died from the infectious disease.

A notifiable disease

If a doctor diagnoses TB, then the patient must be reported to the health department. The Health Department registers and stores the data of the patient, this also applies in the case of death. It is important for those who have the disease to remember the people with whom they are in close contact, because they could also be infected. Those who either refuse or prematurely discontinue the necessary therapy must be reported. In these cases it is even possible to force a therapy.

The symptoms of tuberculosis

Tuberculosis progresses in several stages:

stage I

If there was a contact with a tuberculosis patient, then after eight weeks defense cells are formed. These cells surround the pathogens and contain them. There are no symptoms, but there is a latent infection.

Stage II

At this stage, inflammatory changes form in the form of small nodules, which are also surrounded by defense cells. The Lymph node are also affected, and patients complain of low-grade fever and dry Cough with greenish-yellow sputum. Also nocturnal Sweating are not uncommon at this stage, as well as loss of appetite, fatigue, a general weakness and weight loss. If it comes to a severe course, then the sick cough blood and complain of pain in the chest. Is the Immune System intact, then scarring or calcification occurs around the sites of inflammation, and the doctor refers to this as closed tuberculosis. When the immune system is not as good, cavities, called caverns, form in the ties of the lungs. The pathogen spreads through the respiratory tract, the disease is contagious and the doctor speaks of open tuberculosis.

Stage III

In some cases, the pathogens spread in the bloodstream, causing small inflammations on the organs, which the doctor calls "minimal lesions". These inflammations can still trigger TB years later, which is the case in 80 percent of the patients. The doctor then speaks of a so-called post-primary tuberculosis.

How the disease is treated?

The goal of any tuberculosis treatment is to cure the disease. How the treatment looks, always depends on the activity of the Tb, which can be judged on the basis of X-ray pictures. How big is the shadow in the lungs. So that the focus of inflammation? – How many pathogens can be detected? – If a cavity (cavern) has developed? – Is it a reactive enlargement of an old focus of disease?

Particular caution is always advised if it is an open tuberculosis. In this case, the patient must be hospitalized and treatment is given on a Isolation. If the medications are working as desired, then isolation is lifted after three weeks and the patient continues to be treated as an outpatient. Drug therapy, such as ethambutol, rifampicin or pyrazinamide, promises success. To which active therapy is followed by further treatment with two antituberculotics, rifampicin and isoniazid, for a period of four months. If the patient is severely weakened by the disease or if his or her immune defenses have suffered, then this therapy can also be extended.

The prognosis

If the disease is detected in time and treated correctly, it can heal completely. However, there are some factors that complicate the course of tuberculosis. This is the case, for example, when the medication is not taken as prescribed by the doctor. It is possible, however, to use a urine test to determine whether the patient is taking his medication or not. Patients who have already had multiple illnesses or whose immune systems are weak have a less good Chance of cure. Incidents such as blood poisoning, collapse of the lungs, or severe pulmonary hemorrhage may also occur during the course of TB. Particularly dangerous, however, is the so-called "galloping consumption", in which a rapid death of entire lung areas occurs. The tie turns yellow, it becomes friable and the doctor therefore speaks of a "caseation". If it is an open TB, then the risk of infection is very high.


Since 1998 there is no vaccination against tuberculosis in Germany, now more and more doctors recommend to introduce this vaccination again. The disease that has cost and continues to cost millions of lives has made its way back to Europe. Tuberculosis has long been an invisible disease with which anyone can become infected. Whoever is infected should have the TB treated consistently, because this is the only way to cure and defeat the long forgotten disease.

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Ulrike Dietz is married, mother of two children and lives in Hochsauerland. The journalist and book author writes articles on many different topics and describes herself as flexible, open-minded and inquisitive.

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