Is the recurrence of Tuberculosis more life-threatening?

Have you had Tuberculosis in the past? Is the treatment over? Are you really over the risk?
The answer is a big no!
Many people who have had treatment believe that once they treat their TB, they will be fit and fine and will not have the risk of having TB again. But this is a myth. In reality, the people who have had TB in the past are more prone to have it again.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis, popularly known as TB, is an infectious disease that targets the lungs. It is a contagious disease that transfers from person to person or by droplets in the air.
TB can be active or inactive as-..

  • Inactive TB or Latent TB- This type of TB is non-contagious, and the bacteria are not involved. But it is not always inactive. It can become active if not appropriately treated within time.
  • Active TB- In this condition, the bacteria are active, thus contagious. It makes the person feel sick.

Why does Tuberculosis occur again?

TB can occur even after treating it. It is a relapse that majorly results if you left the treatment in between or the doctors mistreated your disease. Also, some people are more prone to the risks and are more susceptible; that is why they have a relapse of TB.
Apart from this, the people who are HIV positive have more chances of getting TB again than non-HIV people.

What are the symptoms of TB?

There are no such symptoms for Latent TB.
But the active TB has a couple of symptoms as-

  • Drastic weight loss
  • Cough longer than three weeks
  • Night sweats and chills
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Blood in cough
  • More than normal mucus

Can one get rid of the recurrent variant of Tuberculosis?

Treating the recurrent variant of TB is much more complicated than the original variant. It is difficult to treat the reinfection, but it is not impossible to do.
The new variant comes back with its mutation(s), making it more complex to treat. In addition to that, the old bacteria and the further transformation become resistant to treatment. They do not respond to the drugs and thus, require a new way of treatment. But this is not the case for all. Sometimes, one can quickly treat the relapse because the bacteria react to the medication and the effective drugs. In these cases, one can successfully get rid of the recurrent version of TB. But in cases where the bacteria does not react to the medication, it is challenging to cure the relapse.

Treatment of tuberculosis reinfection-

The treatment of TB takes a lot of time. Regular TB treatment can last from 6 months to a year. But if it is drug-resistant to Tuberculosis, the treatment can last more than a year.
People who have an active Tuberculosis infection generally get three drugs for their initial treatment. But if the patient forms the MDR ( Multiple drug-resistant ) or XDR ( Xtreme drug-resistant ), then the treatment is more complex. In these cases, the patient gets one dose of injection every day.

Prevention of Recurrence of Tuberculosis

The best and the most important thing to prevent the reinfection of TB is to complete your course of treatment within time. Do not delay your treatment. Take the medicines as and when directed by your doctor.

Avoid smoking and intake of tobacco in any form. It is so as tobacco intake is a significant cause of the spread of TB infection.

You should also be extra cautious if you have health issues like diabetes, kidney infections, lung infection, HIV, AIDS, malnutrition, cancer treatment, or a transplant.

TB is very risky, and if it reoccurs, its mutations are more dangerous. That is why the completion of treatment and proper medication is mandatory. It is not easy to treat the recurrence of TB, but if you are extra precautious, you will not reach the stage wherein you require treatment.

So, just take all the precautions and everything will be good!

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors