Essay by 2cool2resistUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2005

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A person with TB infection will have no symptoms. A person with TB disease may have any, all or some of the following symptoms:

A cough that will not go away

Feeling tired all the time

Weight loss

Loss of appetite


Coughing up blood

Night sweats


Treatment for TB depends on whether a person has TB disease or only TB infection.

A person who has become infected with TB, but does not have TB disease, may be given preventive therapy. Preventive therapy aims to kill germs that are not doing any damage right now, but could break out later.

If a doctor decides a person should have preventive therapy, the usual prescription is a daily dose of isoniazid (also called "INH"), an inexpensive TB medicine. The person takes INH for six to nine months (up to a year for some patients), with periodic checkups to make sure the medicine is being taken as prescribed.

If the person does have TB disease, then treatment is needed. The patient usually gets a combination of several drugs (most frequently INH plus two to three others), usually for nine months. The patient will probably begin to feel better only a few weeks after starting to take the drugs

It is very important, however, that the patient continue to take the medicine correctly for the full length of treatment. If the medicine is taken incorrectly or stopped the patient may become sick again and will be able to infect others with TB. As a result many public health authorities recommend Directly Observed Therapy (DOT), in which a health care worker insures that the patient takes his/her medicine.

If the medicine is taken incorrectly and the patient becomes sick with TB a second time, the TB...