Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It frequently affects the lungs, but at the same time, it can damage other parts of the body. When a person with pulmonary TB talks, sneezes, or coughs, he or she can transmit tuberculosis through the air. Among the symptoms of the white plague could be weight loss, bad cough for more than three weeks, pain in a chest, poor appetite, coughing up blood or mucus, weakness, fever, and night sweats (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). This illness can cause serious complications because it can affect other parts of the body. TB might be the source of spinal pain and stiffness, joint damage (usually knees and hips), meningitis (swelling of the membranes that cover the brain), liver or kidney dysfunction, and heart disorders (cardiac tamponade). Tuberculosis pandemic is a burning issue because many people are infected. The paper focuses on the determinants of health and epidemiologic triangle with regards to TB and discusses the role of community health nurse and national organizations in combating the disease.
The only way to avoid the fatal consequences of tuberculosis is immediate treatment. The cure may be different regarding the type of disease. If a person has latent TB, he or she can have a preventative therapy which includes a prescription for a daily dose of isoniazid. However, much more effective drugs are required for treatment of active TB, for example, isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). The patients should take these medications simultaneously because the illness can become multidrug-resistant. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is very dangerous because the organism becomes resistant to the rifampin and isoniazid that are the most important anti-TB medications.
Nowadays, 30% of the world population suffers from tuberculosis. According to World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Report, 10.4 million people develop TB in 2016. It means that 28,500 people caught it every day. Among them, 1.8 million people died, including 400,000 people who had HIV and TB. 60% of TB cases worldwide occurred mainly in six countries: China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa (World Health Organization, 2016).
Determinants of Health
The determinants of health consist of the combine which affects the health of both individuals and communities. They might belong to three groups, particularly to the social and economic environment, to the physical environment, and to individual characteristics. The first group is one of the most powerful determinants concerning tuberculosis. The poverty makes people work and live in crowded places in unsanitary conditions, which create directly risk factors for transmission of TB. Poor social environment usually has limited general health knowledge. Unfortunately, it predisposes people to tuberculosis. For example, the risk factors include smoking or drinking. Moreover, personal characteristics are also very important. On the one hand, if the organism has genetically strong immune system, it will reduce chances to die of active TB (Lönnroth, K., Jaramillo, E., Williams, B. G., Dye, C., & Raviglione, M., 2009). On the other hand, when an individual has HIV, his or her immune system is low, or he or she is not resistant to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, he or she will definitely catch an infection.
The Epidemiologic Triangle
For better understanding and studying of health problems, the scientists have developed a special model – the epidemiologic triangle. It consists of three corners: an agent or microbe that develops the illness, a host or organism that shelters the disease, and an environment or factor which allows illness transmission. In order to find a way to stop the disease, scholars should understand how to break at least one side of the triangle, disrupting the connection between the agent, the host, and the environment.
In the case of tuberculosis, the agent is the bacterial microorganism Mycobacterium tuberculosis or tubercle bacillus. The host of TB is the human or animal organism. The common way of tuberculosis spread is the airborne particles which carry TB bacillus. These infected particles are droplet nuclei. They develop when a person who have pulmonary or laryngeal TB disease sneezes or coughs. The environment plays a significant role in spreading tuberculosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). For example, Mycobacterium tuberculosis can live six months in water, three months on paper, twelve months in dust, two months in the street dust, six months on the ground, two weeks in milk, and twelve months in cheese from infected milk (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.).
Community Health Nursing
The community health nursing is important in the field of TB control. Its main task is to plan, evaluate, and coordinate TB control program. This plan should represent the collaboration of experts who examine the medical TB treatment. They should update it regularly and distribute widely. In addition, this plan should assign roles and responsibilities of different health care institutions, describe essential means of communication between providers, and improve laboratories and public health organizations. Moreover, it defines necessary resources required to safeguard its implementation and provide local laboratories that process TB samples with guidance. Community health centers usually give primary health care services to people that cannot reach necessary facilities in the health care system (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). In fact, the community health centers make the major efforts aimed to control and prevent TB.
Stop TB USA
Stop TB USA is a national organization founded in 1992 as the National Coalition for the Elimination of Tuberculosis. It consists of public health, health care, and professional medical organizations, as well as of Congressional Health committees. The main goals of Stop TB USA are to provide scientific and public health organizations with the information about the elimination of TB globally, nationally, and locally and to cooperate with other partners in fighting the illness. Nowadays, the organization consists of 1,500 partners in more than 100 countries all over the world. Currently, they are working on TB diagnosis and treatment aiming to find new drugs and vaccines against tuberculosis as well as against MDR-TB and HIV-TB.
The biggest contribution of the organization is the Global Plan to End TB. Stop TB has launched a new strategy for 2016 - 2020. It is the fourth plan of the union based on the WHO End TB strategy and aimed to end tuberculosis epidemics. The objective is to be able to control the case without a subsequent spread of disease. According to this strategy, Stop TB will gather and invest $65 billion globally. The majority of the fund is for the implementation in different countries. $29 billion is for Global Fund and $9 billion is for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnosis. It will give an opportunity to prevent 45 million of people from getting TB and to provide required treatment for 29 million of ill. Furthermore, 10 million lives will be saved. The authors of the plan also included benefits for the economy. Thus, $1.2 trillion will return to the nation on investment which makes $85 return on each dollar invested.
Consequently, tuberculosis is a very dangerous disease caused by the bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It affects lungs as well as other parts of the body. Weight loss, bad cough for three weeks or longer, pain in a chest, poor appetite, coughing up blood or mucus, weakness, fever, and night sweats are the main symptoms. Social determinants of health, such as poverty and incomplete health education, are the main factors that lead to TB. According to the epidemiologic triangle, the agent of TB is tubercle bacillus and the host is the human or animal organism. Tuberculosis can be transmitted by airborne particles which carry TB bacillus. In fact, the community health nursing has a great impact on tuberculosis elimination. One of the biggest partnerships working in this field is an organization called Stop TB USA.