This disease occurs all over the world. However, the incidence is more in tropical countries that have dirty living conditions and overcrowding. The disease spreads in two ways: by droplet infection (pulmonary tuberculosis) involving the lungs and by consumption of milk from sick animals (bovine tuberculosis. This type of infection mostly attacks the organs of the body. Bovine tuberculosis can attack both man and cattle.

The disease sets in slowly without the knowledge of the individual. The incubation period varies from several months to years.

The disease is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis or the tubercle bacillus. It is very hardy bacteria, and can survive for six months in a dry state. Warm-blooded animals are more susceptible to this disease. The bacteria get killed when held at boiling temperature for 10 minutes. Direct exposure to sun for eight hours ensures destruction of the tubercle bacillus.

A person suffering from the disease gets easily tire an fatigued. There is loss of appetite and hence of weight as well. The person develops a husky cough and the voice becomes hoarse. Rapid pulse, palpitation and sweating at night are common features. There is a sligl1t rise in temperature towards the evening. In advanced states there will be pain in the chest and hemoptysis (coughing up of blood). In cases of women suffering from this disease the periods become scanty, the lips become dry, eyes get sunken, breath has a peculiar odour and there is general wasting of the body tissues Dark spots on the lungs can be seen in an X-ray of the chest.


Both public and personal preventive measures should be taken. The person suffering from the disease should take a good diet and live in a clean and well ventilated place. The discharge from the mouth and nose should be carefully disposed of. Clothing and handkerchiefs as well as the vessels used should be properly disinfected. Unnecessary contact with the patient should be avoided. Tuberculosis is not hereditary, but separation of the young ones from tubercular mothers is advisable.

The concerned authorities should be notified and the treatment should be easily available. The public should be educated about the importance of environmental sanitation. B.C.G. (Bacillus CalmetteGuerin) vaccination provides immunity against tuberculosis.

Today tuberculosis is completely curable with modern medical care, accompanied by rest and suitable nourishing diet.