The grim shadow of tuberculosis during the pandemic

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dr. Hario Baskoro, Sp.P, Ph.D
dr. Hario Baskoro, Sp.P, Ph.D. (Source: EMC HOSPITAL)

Jakarta, IO – Tuberculosis is a communicable disease, one caused by the infection of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. It is known to be acid-resistant. Even worse, it can withstand cold temperatures and can live for a long time in a -7oC to 4oC temperature range. Luckily, it dies quickly when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. 

According to the Ministry of Health official website, tuberculosis in Indonesia is third-highest worldwide, after India and China with 824,000 new cases and 93,000 deaths a year in our country. This is equal to 11 deaths per hour. It’s such a sad state of affairs, as even though it is highly infectious, tuberculosis is preventable and treatable. 

Tuberculosis sufferers are easily identifiable through their symptoms. Tuberculosis bacteria most frequently attack the lungs, but they can also infect other organs: the lymphatic system, the bones, the brain, and the skin. “The most common symptoms include prolonged coughing – it can be phlegmatic cough, dry cough, or even bleeding cough. Sufferers are also afflicted by prolonged fevers, respiratory difficulties, chest pains, and night sweat. Don’t wait it out! Go get yourselves or your family checked if these symptoms appear. Tuberculosis is actually curable,” said dr. Hario Baskoro, Sp.P, Ph.D, lung specialist at EMC Hospital, Pulomas, Jakarta, in the “Recognizing and Preventing Tuberculosis during the Covid-19 Pandemic” live IG session held on Tuesday (19/07/2022). 

Tuberculosis is significantly different from Covid-19. In tuberculosis, coughing is generally progressive and lasts more than two weeks. On the other hand, Covid-19 has acute or sudden onset. Because they also suffer from nausea, tuberculosis patients generally lose appetite and weight. Therefore, the return of appetite can also be interpreted as an easing of tuberculosis infection. The body weight of former tuberculosis patients tend to rise gradually once they are properly cured.