Tuberculosis and the BCG – A Parent’s Guide!
Tuberculosis is a serious but curable condition which is spread by tiny water droplets passing from one person to another usually by coughing or sneezing. It is the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis in water droplets passed in this way which cause the disease to spread. Whilst it is a contagious disease it usually requires prolonged exposure for one person to catch it from another. This means that whilst it is common for it to pass from one family member to another it is not common to catch it by passing someone on the street that has the disease. In Ireland the number of cases of TB has been falling (328 in 2014) and there were no cases in young children in 2014. The rate of TB in Ireland for 2014 was the lowest since surveillance started in 1998.
There are two types of tuberculosis (TB). One which is called latent TB which means you have the infection but are showing no symptoms. The other is known as active TB and will mean that you are displaying symptoms. Latent TB can become active TB. It can actually be months or years after contracting the disease that you begin to show symptoms of TB. The signs can vary from person to person and depend on where the infection is present. It is most common for the infection to affect the lungs but it can affect the digestive system, reproductive system, bones and joints, lymph glands or nervous system.
Possible Symptoms include:
• A persistent cough – lasting for longer than three weeks
• Blood in the mucus of a cough
• Lack of appetite
• High temperature
• Exhaustion and fatigue
• Weight loss
• Persistent pain in glands, stomach, bones or joints.
Treatment and Vaccination:
Tuberculosis is treated with various antibiotics and generally after a six month course of treatment people will make a full recovery. If your illness is resistant to certain antibiotics the treatment can take up to two years.
*** THE BCG HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE IRISH CHILDHOOD IMMUNISATION SCHEDULE*** 2016
This is due to lack of availability of vaccine and also the low risk of contracting TB in Ireland at the moment.
I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page or my website contact page or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.