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* This article is not to be considered medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you have concerns about Tuberculosis or Whooping Cough infection

When diseases like whooping cough and tuberculosis are mentioned, thoughts of some village in the middle ages comes to mind - people walking around in rags coughing (in some cases coughing up blood), the sky is overcast, with drizzling rain. Here we are hundreds of years later, and rest assured that certain communicable diseases are ready for a full blown come back.

Tuberculosis

In 2006, a total of 13,767 tuberculosis (TB) cases (4.6 per 100,000 population) were reported in the United States, representing a 3.2% decline from the 2005 rate.
Link to the CDC website - Number of TB cases in 2006

For those of you that do not know, if you have Tuberculosis, you have to take anti-biotics for about 6 months to clear the infection. There are 2 phases of Tuberculosis infection - that is when the patient is infectious, and not infectious. Meaning, the patient can spread the infection and when they can not spread the infection.


Once the person starts the antibiotics, it might take 30, 60 or even 90 days before the mucus test negative for Tuberculosis. A lot of it depends on the type of Tuberculosis (whether its drug resistant or not), and if the person has a weakened immune system. People with HIV/AIDS, cancer, advanced hepatitis can have weakened immune and may not respond very well to the antibiotics. If one type of antibiotic is not working, then another type is used.

To test for active infection, the patient coughs up mucus, spits it into a tube, and its mailed to a laboratory for testing.

Example of a dose of Tuberculosis medicine:
Avelox - 400mg
Rifampin 300mg - 2 doses for a total of 600 mg
Versaphar
Ethambutol 400mg
Versaphar

All 6 pills have to be taken at the same time. After the PT starts the antibiotics, liver test need to be done. Because some antibiotics can have a negative affect on the liver.

While the PT is infectious, its advised that they stay away from the public. If they have to go into the public, they should wear some kind of approved face mask - such as an N95 to help prevent the spread of the infection.

One of the bad things about Tuberculosis, a healthy adult could have the disease for years and not know it - that is why TB skin test are important. In a lot of cases, the immune system of a healthy adult can keep the infection under control. The infection is not cleared, its just kep at bay.

When the person becomes sick - diabetes, cancer, phenomia, advanced hepatitis,,, the immune system is no longer able to keep the Tuberculosis infection at bay, and the infection breaks out.

Even though in 2006 a total of 13,767 tuberculosis were reported to the CDC - tens of thousands of other cases could be out there that have not been diagnosed. These are the healthy adults whose immune systems are able to keep the infection at bay - for now.




Whooping Cough / Pertussis

Is usually spread from adult to child, children less then 2 years old are especially acceptable - because of the face to face contact when the adult is feeding the child.

In the year 2000 - less then 10,000 cases of whooping cough were reported to the CDC.

In the year 2004 - 25,827 cases of whooping cough were reported to the CDC.

In the year 2009 - 13,506 cases of whooping cough were reported to the CDC.


Treatment of Pertussis - link to the CDC source material

Approximately 80%--90% of patients with untreated pertussis will spontaneously clear B. pertussis from the nasopharynx within 3--4 weeks from onset of cough; however, untreated and unvaccinated infants can remain culture-positive for >6 weeks.

Erythromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, has been the antimicrobial of choice for treatment or postexposure prophylaxis of pertussis. It is usually administered in 4 divided daily doses for 14 days.
 

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When I joined the NG, I was given a TB skin test and tested positive. Upon my return from BCT I was contacted by the State Health Department and was required (at the State's expense) to take Isoniazid (commonly referred to as INH) daily for 9 months. They told me upon completion of treatment that I would continue to test positive for TB and would need to inform my physician that I had received INH treatment for TB so that I would not be reported in the future.
 

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When I joined the NG, I was given a TB skin test and tested positive. Upon my return from BCT I was contacted by the State Health Department and was required (at the State's expense) to take Isoniazid (commonly referred to as INH) daily for 9 months. They told me upon completion of treatment that I would continue to test positive for TB and would need to inform my physician that I had received INH treatment for TB so that I would not be reported in the future.
I bet that was very hard to go through. I am glad that you are ok.
 

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It was a little scary at first because all I knew about TB was that it is a respiratory disease and you could die from it. The army didn't give me much info until right before I left BCT. That's when I learned that there are two types of TB (active and inactive) and that it's treatable.

The INH treatment sucked because a side effect of the drug was that it made me feel very nauseous. Feeling like you're going to puke every day for 9 months was not fun. I have a healthier respect for pregnant women going through morning sickness though!

:)
 
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