Currently, tuberculosis ranks as one of the world’s major healthcare problems. Caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the respiratory illness usually presents with no symptoms. However, the deadly disease can be marked by fever, night sweats, coughing, bloody sputum, and chest pains. Transmitted most commonly by airborne respiratory droplets, tuberculosis (TB) is highly treatable with antibiotics, and the disease generally clears up after six months of aggressive therapy. Unfortunately, people who live in underdeveloped nations have little access to healthcare services, much less antibiotics. Tuberculosis is an epidemic in these nations due to sub-standard living conditions, and a lack of financial resources.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), developing countries, especially in southeast Asia, the Pacific Rim, and Africa, contributed to 95% of the global cases and deaths. Moreover, about one-third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means that these carriers are not yet ill with the deadly illness (WHO, 2015, internet). As underdeveloped nations lack adequate financial resources, this factor is the chief contributor to the high rates of TB in these nations.
In addition, malnutrition is a risk factor for TB. Well into the 21st century, TB is still the primary cause of wasting in those infected by the illness (Gupta et al., 2009, internet). Thus, there is a clear correlation between malnutrition and the high prevalence of TB in poor, underdeveloped nations (Gupta et al., 2009, internet). Again, lack of financial resources contributes to lack of access to both food and healthcare, which are both persistent problems in under-developed nations.
TB is a global epidemic that can kill its victims. However, with newer drugs, it can be treated. When poorer nations are able to afford these treatments and , their incidence of TB will decrease.
Gupta, K. B., Gupta, R., Atreja, A., Verma, M., & Vishvkarma, S. (2009). Tuberculosis and nutrition. Lung India : Official Organ of Indian Chest Society, 26(1), 9–16. http://doi.org/10.4103/0970-2113.45198
World Health Organization. (2015). Tuberculosis. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs104/en/
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