Tuberculosis (TB) is a very contagious and spreadable disease in enclosed spaces. TB bacteria is spread through the air by persons talking, coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Breathing in TB bacteria can result in the bacteria growing in the lungs (pulmonaary tuberculosis) or other areas (extra-pulmonary tuberculosis). Tuberculosis can be caused by different strains of mycobacteria, but is usually the result of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB multiplies in immune cells that take it up in the lungs and present it to the lymph node cells. tuberculosis most often infects and damages the top part of the lungs, known as the apex. Most infections in people can result in latent infection. One in ten latent tuberculosis infections will eventually result in the active disease- and 50% of active TB case are fatal. TB is much more prevalent in developing countries. Symptoms of TB are:
- Cough (lasting 3 or more weeks)
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Bloody sputum
- Chest pain accompanying breathing or coughing
People with latent tuberculosis can not spread the bacteria to other people unless the bacteria is active. Latent TB can be just as fatal as active TB because latent tuberculosis is not shown on some tests. The only way for the bacteria to become active is for it to multiply in ones body. It is most common to spread TB to family members, friends, and coworkers. Depending on one’s body people may develop TB disease sooner than others. Some people may develop it within weeks, and others may get sick years after being infected. Antibiotic therapies are used to treat TB. Persons that are at a higher risk of developing TB are:
- People with immune deficiencies, the aged and very young
- Living in areas with poverty, malnutrition, and overcrowing
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Needle drug users
- Working with patients infected with TB (employees of hospitals, extended care facilities)
Misdiagnosing or Failure to diagnose TB not only harms a person’s ability to recover from the infection, but also could potentially lead to the infected person infecting many more people. A person with an active infection can infect 10 to 15 people in the course of a year. Facilities with TB patients need to be especially vigilant to make sure other patients are not infected either through being in too close proximity, or air circulation systems that exchange air with infected particles.
If you believe you or a loved one contracted TB from a health care facility or if you had the condition and it was worsened by not being diagnosed, you may be eligible for damages. Contact the Sweeney Law Firm and let our experts review the facts. You may have a medical malpractice case. If we decide to accept your case, there is no fee for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of fees for you.