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Tuberculosis as a Highly Contagious Infection

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a rod-shaped bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB), a highly contagious infection that is disseminated following contact with an infected person. Many cases of infection are reported in health facilities where clinicians contract the disorder from patients. The purpose of this paper is to explain the elements that influence the infectiousness of a TB patient, the major goals and levels of a TB infection program, as well as the role and characteristics of a TB airborne infection isolation (AII) room. Situations requiring the use of respirators and surgical masks are also explained.

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Aspects that Govern the Infectiousness of a TB Patient

The infectiousness of a TB patient is influenced by the quantities of droplets having the causative bacteria that are discharged into the air. Inhalation of contagious drops and the subsequent passage of the bacteria to the alveoli of the lungs results in infection. Other aspects that play a role in infectiousness include coughing, having a void in the lungs, sputum smear containing acid-fast bacilli, and the encroachment of the bacteria into the air passages, lungs, and voice box (CDC, 2019a). Infected patients who do not receive proper treatment are also likely to spread the disease (Mathema et al., 2017).

Targeted tuberculin testing should recognize people with a high probability of catching TB. The wellbeing of this group of people can be improved by treating latent TB infections (LTBI). The CDC (2019b) endorses four therapeutic regimes for LTBI, including isoniazid, rifapentine, and rifampin, which have comparable efficacy. Nonetheless, shorter treatment schedules are likely to be more effective due to a higher probability of medication adherence. Conversely, people with prior contact with patients with drug-resistant TB should receive modified treatments under the guidance of a TB specialist.

The Main Goals of a TB Infection Control Program

A TB infection program has three key goals the first being to minimize the exposure of healthcare workers, patients, and other employees to TB through prompt diagnosis. The second goal is to separate patients suspected of having active TB from other people in the hospital. On the other hand, the third goal is to minimize transmission by initiating prompt treatment in infected individuals (Jo, 2017).

The Three Levels of an Effective TB Infection Control Program

An effective TB infection control program has three hierarchical levels of control. The first level is administrative controls that comprise management measures meant to minimize contact with people having infectious TB. The next level is environmental checks that impede the dissemination of TB by lowering the levels of infectious droplets in the environs. The third level entails using respiratory protective equipment to lower the risk of infection in high-risk situations.

The Purpose and Characteristics of a TB AAI Room

The objective of a TB AII room is to ward off the spread of TB and decrease the levels of contagious droplets in the surroundings by implementing the three levels of the infection control program. A TB AII should have a proper ventilation system and an air cleaning system for the removal of droplet nuclei. It should also be monitored regularly for negative pressure to determine the direction of airflow. All AII rooms in a facility should be situated in one part of a healthcare setting. Furthermore, windows and doors should be kept closed at all times.

Situations Necessitating the Use of Respirators and Surgical Masks

Patients, visitors, and healthcare workers in TB AII rooms should don personal protection gear such as respirators and surgical masks. These outfits are also required in rooms where procedures such as induction of coughing and aerosol production are conducted. Protective gear should be worn in ambulances and means of transportation that move infectious TB patients. Health care workers should also wear respirators and surgical masks when visiting the homes of contagious TB patients.

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People in health care settings are at risk of contracting TB. Infection regulation procedures should be formulated to reduce the possibility of infection. Additionally, TB policies and procedures ought to be revised from time to time their effectiveness to guarantee low rates of TB transmission.


CDC. (2019a). Infection control. Web.

CDC. (2019b). Deciding when to treat latent TB infection. Web.

Jo, K. W. (2017). Preventing the transmission of tuberculosis in health care settings: Administrative control. Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, 80(1), 21-26.

Mathema, B., Andrews, J. R., Cohen, T., Borgdorff, M. W., Behr, M., Glynn, J. R.,… Wood, R. (2017). Drivers of tuberculosis transmission. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 216(suppl_6), S644-S653.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Tuberculosis as a Highly Contagious Infection'. 11 December.

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