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Description of Tuberculosis


A large part of the world’s population is reported to be infected with tuberculosis annually. According to Dyer (2010), over 13 million cases of chronic tuberculosis were reported globally in the year 2007, and in 2012 over 8.5 million cases were reported. This implies that tuberculosis is a disease that is affecting many nations. Tuberculosis is airborne, and it is affecting many countries today. It is a bacterial disease caused by different strains of bacteria, but the most common one is mycobacterium tuberculosis. Currently, the disease is treatable but it becomes complex to treat when diagnosed at late stages. If ignored or left untreated, tuberculosis is fatal. The disease is transmitted through the air when people cough or sneeze. The disease is prevalent among the youth and young adults. Its symptoms may not be detected early since many diseases share the symptoms in the early stages. However, at the active stage, the symptoms show up.

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At an active stage of tuberculosis, the victim experiences chronic coughs with some traces of blood, frequent sweating during the night, increased fever that does not disappear, and unexplained loss of weight. According to Bynum (2012), the most commonly used way of diagnosing the disease is through a chest x-ray. The disease is treatable but at times it becomes difficult depending on the stage at which it is diagnosed. The treatment entails the administering of multiple antibiotics for a long period of time to the victim. Since the disease is airborne, preventing it from spreading from the victim to the other healthy members of society is vital. This can be done by screening and treating the social factors and offering the Bacillus-Calmette Guerin vaccine to the public.

Demographic of Interest

Tuberculosis can affect people of various age groups depending on one’s lifestyle and environmental factors. The highest percentage of mortality and morbidity is among heavy cigarette smokers. The drunkard may also have a problem managing the disease once they contract the disease (Bynum, 2012). Some scholars also observe that the incidences of TB infections are high in patients with HIV. This is because of weakened body immunity. Those who live in crowded areas also have a high prevalence of contracting the disease.

The Determinants of Health

According to Aronin (2011), there are a number of factors that affect people in the community and determine their health conditions. The environment and circumstances under which people live play an important role in health determination. There are three broad determinants of health. The main one is social and economic environments. The poor and non-working populations are more vulnerable to various diseases than the rich. The poor and the unemployed can hardly afford good diets and clean environments. The rich unlike the poor can get access to health services at their convenient time. This includes the ability of an individual to get access to clean water, a clean environment, good shelter, and good transport network systems. The third determinant of health is the general body status and behavioral characteristics of an individual.

According to Bynum (2012), all three determinants of health, in one way or the other, contribute to tuberculosis. Social and economic factors play a big role in the development of this disease. The poor always live in dirty, polluted, over-populated, and poorly ventilated environments that facilitate the spread of the disease.

Epidemiologic Triangle in Relation to Tuberculosis

An epidemiologic triangle is in most cases used by scientists to explain the transmission process of some diseases. This is a kind of model that explains how infectious diseases take place. The model in most cases is triangular in shape. It comprises the environment, a susceptible host, and an agent. The model is as shown in the diagram below.

Epidemiologic Triangle in Relation to Tuberculosis

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The agent, which is also referred to as the pathogen or disease-causing micro-organism, can be a bacterium, virus, or other microbes. According to Dyer (2010), for any disease to occur, the agent must be present. Otherwise, there will be no disease. Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease, which means that the bacteria should be present for the infection to take place. It is the agent that brings the infection. The presence of the agent alone cannot cause tuberculosis, a susceptible host and a good environment for the survival of the agent must be present. For tuberculosis, it is important to note that the environmental factors would include poorly ventilated and over-populated settings and other poor conditions of living. A susceptible host refers to an individual who can get the infection. The ability of the person to get the disease is determined by the risk factors to which one is exposed.

The Role of a Community Health Nurse

Community health nurse has a major role to play in the fight against tuberculosis infections. A community health nurse has a major role in identifying cases of tuberculosis infection within the society. It may be necessary for them to collect the relevant data, conduct its analysis, and make a report to the relevant authorities (Aronin, 2011). The nurse also has the responsibility of conducting follow-ups to ensure that patients are taking their medications. It is the duty of the community nurse in partnership with all the relevant authorities to create awareness on the health impacts of the disease to the public. The nurse should provide all the relevant information to the public including the causes of the disease, symptoms, effects, treatment, and control. After sensitizing the public on the disease, a community nurse should offer frequent training related to disease control to the members of the public and attend to any case reported on the disease. The nurse should collect all the relevant data on TB, and analyze it to come up with accurate findings on the disease. This concerted effort is expected to reduce or eliminate cases of TB within society.

The National Tuberculosis Controllers Association

The National Tuberculosis Controllers Association is an American organization that deals with the mitigation and elimination of tuberculosis in the United States, by engaging all the relevant authorities and giving them the responsibility to observe the programs that aim at preventing and controlling tuberculosis in their area of jurisdiction. This organization ensures that the TB victims are identified and isolated from the rest members of the society to special treatment and care units where they are subjected to the correct medication. This controls the disease from spreading to the other healthy members. The association also creates awareness to the public on the matters related to the disease while ensuring that immunization is given to prevent the infection. The organization has established different programs that are geared towards eliminating TB from society. It applies a collaborative approach where every member of society is involved. This has seen the United States reduce infection at a very rate.


Aronin, M. (2011). Tuberculosis: The white plague. New York, N.Y: Bearport Pub.

Bynum, H. (2012). Spitting blood: The history of tuberculosis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dyer, C. A. (2010). Tuberculosis. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.

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