IN an attempt to educate members of the public about tuberculosis on World TB Day on March 24, Netcare St Anne’s Hospital held an information stand to broaden people’s knowledge about what TB is, resistance and prevention. Leading physician Dr Devan Gounder gave a talk to staff about TB and the treatment plan. WHAT IS TB?Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germs that are spread person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys or the spine. In most cases, TB can be treated but people with TB can die if they don’t get the proper treatment. WHY DO PEOPLE GET TB? People who have a weak immune system from causes such as malnutrition, alcoholism, HIV, diabetes, physical and emotional stress, and cancer treatment, can get TB.Poverty and living in overcrowded places also make people vulnerable to getting TB. HOW IT IS SPREAD ? When a person with TB talks,coughs, spits or sneezes, the germ is spread through the air and other people can breathe the germs in. Always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. HOW CAN PEOPLE TELL THEY HAVE TB? The early signs of TB of the lungs include: • a cough lasting more than two weeks; • weight loss; • tiredness; and • loss of appetite. WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO IF THEY THINK THEY HAVE TB? If anyone has the early signs of TB they must go to the nearest hospital or clinic for testing.CAN TB BE CURED? Yes, TB can be cured, provided you complete your treatment. There is strong and effective medication to treat and cure TB.TB is curable even when a person is HIV-positive. WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO TO FIGHT TB? Following a healthy lifestyle makes the body stronger so that it can fight the TB germs better. A healthy lifestyle includes: • eating healthy foods; • getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine; • getting regular exercise and rest; and • not smoking, drinking alcohol or abusing drugs.