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Researching the Issue of Tuberculosis Disease in the World


Tuberculosis (TB) is among the serious infectious diseases reported in countries across the world. It mainly affects individuals’ lungs; however, brain, spine, and kidney can also be attacked. The condition is described as latent when the body’s bacteria is inactive, showing no symptoms, and not contagious. A person can be said to have active TB when symptoms of the illness are evident (Churchyard et al., 2017). This essay evaluates TB epidemiology, the role of community nurses and national agency involved in addressing the disease, and its global implications.

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Causes, Symptoms, Mode of Transmission, Complications, Treatment

TB is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The illness can be categorized into latent TB and active TB (Churchyard et al., 2017). TB’s common signs and symptoms include a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks, chest pain when coughing or breathing, fatigue, night sweats, fever, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, and chills. TB is transmitted from one person to the other through the air and is treatable using a six-month dose of 4 antimicrobial drugs (World Health Organization, 2020). The disease can spreads to other body parts through the bloodstream, causing such complications as joint damage, spinal pain, heart disorder, meningitis, as well as kidney and liver problems. Therefore, it recommendable for individuals diagnosed with TB to adhere to medications.

Demographic of Interest

TB is among the diseases that lead to a large number of deaths in the world. According to the World Health organization (2020), TB caused approximately 1.4 million deaths worldwide in 2019. In the same year, about 10 million individuals were infected with the disease, comprising 5.6, 3.2, and 1.2 million men, women, and children, correspondingly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (October 29, 2020), the mortality attributed to TB in the US was 542 in 2018. The country reported 8916 cases of TB and an incidence rate of 2.7 per 100000 individuals in 2019. Four states, including California, New York, Florida, and Texas, constituted 51% of all the cases. Additionally, 88% of the new occurrences of TB were among the ethnic and racial minority groups. TB is a reportable disease where suspected or confirmed cases of the illnesses are reported within 24 hours of diagnosis to the state’s health department.

Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health include al environmental conditions that influence the wide range of well-being, risks, quality of life outcomes, and people’s functioning. TB’s contributing factors in society include poverty, access to health care and health literacy, civic participation, and quality of housing. Impoverished communities have high chances of developing and transmitting TB due to living in crowded areas and poor housing with inadequate ventilation (Wingfield et al., 2018). They have limited access to health care because of low income. Their civic participation is low since everyone is busy finding ways of earning a living, denying them an opportunity to learn about TB and how to prevent the disease. Low health literacy limits individuals’ ability to know the signs and symptoms of TB and when and where to seek medical intervention.

TB Epidemiologic Triangle

The epidemiologic triangle explains diseases using such factors as agents, host, and environment. The agents’ vertex of the triangle is defined by microbes that cause the illness. TB is inflicted by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which are small rod-shaped bacilli that can be easily propelled in the air. The second vertex stands for a host for the bacteria, which is human. The last vertex comprises environmental factors that allow the cause and transmission of the agents. TB’s environmental factors include poverty, poor ventilation, overcrowding, and malnutrition.

TB chain of infection encompasses communicable agent, reservoir, exit portal, mode of transmission, the portal of entry, and susceptible host. Mycobacterium tuberculosis attacks the lungs, causing the disease, live, grow, and multiply in humans (reservoir). The bacteria leave the human reservoir through the respiratory tract (portal of exit and entry). They are transferred directly or indirectly to potential host droplet spread and airborne transmission, correspondingly. Infectiousness of the droplet particles depends on such factors as composition, initial trajectory, size, and velocity (Turner et al., 2017). Potential hosts are people around a person with TB who inhale an aerosol containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB’s susceptible hosts are all individuals at risk of infection following exposure to the germs. Varying aspects, including the level of immunity and genetic makeup, influence the host’s susceptibility.

There are special considerations for the general population regarding vulnerability and treatment of TB. Health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, diabetes, and cancer increase individuals’ susceptibility due to weakened immune systems. Such persons should be more cautious to prevent TB infection. People with HIV/AIDS and TB have to continue with anti-retroviral therapy while under tuberculosis medication, increasing drug interaction risk (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Therefore, healthcare providers should pay close attention to patients with TB and HIV to ensure adherence to treatments and respond to any drug-drug interactions.

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The Role of Community Health Nurse

Community health nurses collaborate with individuals and families in finding cases of TB. They educate the community on strategies for preventing TB and offer vaccination services. Furthermore, these professionals promptly record and report suspected TB occurrences to ensure appropriate interventions that focus on stopping transmission of the disease to uninfected people. They also collected data from various sources, such as TB patients and their families, analyzing the collected data to know the risk factors, prevalence, incidence rate, and the tread of TB in society. Moreover, they follow up on TB patients to ensure medication adherence and alleviate the possibility of spreading the illness. The demographic data are necessary since they facilitate targeted healthcare interventions to the affected areas and population. Consequently, healthcare workers and agencies manage to control TB, guaranteeing community well-being.

The National Agency Addressing TB

National Tuberculosis Controllers Association (NTCA) is an agency in the US to protect public health by advancing TB’s elimination using state, local, and territorial programs. NTCA facilitates the development of a collective voice for TB controllers to promote eradication activities. The agency collaborates with different organizations to plan and implement evidence-based actions for managing TB at different levels in the country (National Tuberculosis Controllers Association, n.d.). NTCA also advocates for laws and policies for supporting the regulation of TB.

The Global Implication of TB

TB is a serious infectious disease that can cause a considerable burden on healthcare systems. Vaccination, regular testing, and immediate treatment of confirmed cases of TB are necessary for all countries to prevent deaths, complications, and the spreading of the illness. Governments need to focus on lessening the poverty level since it is the main contributing factor for TB. Prevention and management of TB in the US and other countries involve vaccination and treatment of confirmed occurrences. TB is endemic in particular countries such as India, China, Indonesia, South Africa, and the Philippines.


TB is among the leading infectious diseases worldwide caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Individuals with active TB show such symptoms as more than three weeks’ persistent cough, weight loss, and fatigue. TB cases and incidence rate in the US were 8916 and 2.7 per 100000 individuals in 2019. Poverty is the main social determinant contributing to the prevalence of TB. Community health nurses and national agencies such as play a significant role in controlling the disease.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Trends in Tuberculosis, 2019. Web.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Fact sheets | treatment | special considerations for treatment of TB disease in persons infected with HIV | TB | CDC. Web.

Churchyard, G., Kim, P., Shah, N., Rustomjee, R., Gandhi, N., & Mathema, B. et al. (2017). What we know about tuberculosis transmission: An overview. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 216(6), 629-635. Web.

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National Tuberculosis Controllers Association. (n.d). Web.

Turner, R., Chiu, C., Churchyard, G., Esmail, H., Lewinsohn, D., Gandhi, N., & Fennelly, K. (2017). Tuberculosis infectiousness and host susceptibility. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 216(6), 636-643. Web.

Wingfield, T., Tovar, M., Datta, S., Saunders, M., & Evans, C. (2018). Addressing social determinants to end tuberculosis. The Lancet, 391(10126), 1129-1132. Web.

World Health Organization. (2020). Tuberculosis (TB). Web.

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