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Posted: September 17th, 2023

Tuberculosis: An Ongoing Public Health Challenge

Overview
For the final project, you will create a disease brief based on a chronic or infectious disease you select from a provided list. In your disease brief, you will cover the etiology of the disease, research the incidence and prevalence of the disease, explore treatment and prevention, and consider how the ecological model impacts this public health issue. In this milestone, you will identify your topic and some initial resources (journal articles, credible websites, etc.) for your final project. Your initial research should provide you with both a strong direction for your final project topic and a collection of resources to guide the development of your disease brief.

Prompt
After reviewing the Final Project Guidelines and Rubric document and the provided list of topics, select a disease that you would like to focus on in your final project and conduct some initial research on the selected topic. Be sure to include the APA citation for each resource.

Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:

Selected Disease: Provide a brief overview of the disease you have selected.
Identifying Resources: Identify three to four resources (journal articles, credible websites, etc.) related to your disease and summarize each resource.
Using Resources: Explain how you might utilize each of the identified resources in your disease brief.
What to SubmitYour milestone submission should be a Microsoft Word document with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, and sources cited in APA format.

Tuberculosis: An Ongoing Public Health Challenge
Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. While TB primarily affects the lungs, it can also damage other parts of the body such as the central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system. TB has plagued humanity for thousands of years and remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In this article, we will explore the etiology of TB, examine its global incidence and prevalence, discuss treatment and prevention strategies, and consider how the ecological model impacts this ongoing public health challenge.
Etiology of Tuberculosis
TB is transmitted through the air from person to person via droplets released into the air through coughs, sneezes, or other respiratory activities of people infected with the active form of the disease (WHO, 2022). The most common site of infection is the lungs, where the bacteria can survive and multiply because of the lungs’ moist, protected, and oxygen-rich environment (CDC, 2022). For the infection to progress to the active disease state, the patient’s immune system must be compromised in some way. Those most vulnerable include young children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems due to conditions like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, smoking, malnutrition, or prolonged corticosteroid use (CDC, 2022). According to the WHO (2022), approximately 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2021, with 1.5 million TB-related deaths.
Incidence and Prevalence of Tuberculosis Globally
TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, according to the WHO (2022). An estimated 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2021, with 1.5 million TB-related deaths. The WHO African Region accounts for about a quarter of the global TB cases each year. Other regions with high TB burdens include the WHO Southeast Asia Region and the WHO Western Pacific Region. India has the highest absolute number of cases, followed by Indonesia, China, the Philippines, and Pakistan. According to the WHO (2022), TB disproportionately affects poor and marginalized groups globally. Factors like poverty, crowded living conditions, poor nutrition, and limited access to healthcare increase the risk of TB infection and progression to active disease.
Treatment and Prevention of Tuberculosis
Most cases of active TB disease can be cured when properly treated with a standard 6-month course of multiple antibiotic drugs (CDC, 2022). The most common regimen is a combination of isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol given for 2 months followed by isoniazid and rifampin alone for 4 more months. Treatment is directly observed by a healthcare worker to ensure compliance and prevent development of drug resistance. Preventive treatment with isoniazid alone is recommended for those exposed to active TB to prevent progression to active disease. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination provides some protection against severe forms of TB in children but has limited efficacy against pulmonary TB in adults (WHO, 2022). Other prevention strategies include identifying and treating latent TB infections, reducing overcrowding, improving nutrition, and increasing access to healthcare.
The Ecological Model and Tuberculosis
The ecological model recognizes that health is influenced by a variety of environmental, social, and policy-level factors (CDC, 2022). When applied to TB, this model highlights how factors at multiple levels increase vulnerability and limit access to prevention and care. At the individual level, risk is increased by conditions like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, smoking, and malnutrition. At the interpersonal level, overcrowded living conditions and limited social support increase exposure and hamper treatment adherence. At the community level, poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and stigma discourage prevention and care-seeking behaviors. At the societal level, lack of political will and inadequate public health infrastructure limit funding for TB programs and research. Finally, at the policy level, lack of paid sick leave, insufficient social welfare programs, and unregulated housing and working conditions perpetuate the conditions that drive the TB epidemic. A truly comprehensive response requires addressing determinants of health at all levels of the ecological model.
In summary, tuberculosis remains a significant global public health challenge, particularly in developing countries. While effective treatment exists, ongoing transmission is driven by social, economic, and political factors that increase vulnerability and limit access to care. A comprehensive public health approach is needed that addresses the individual as well as the environmental context in which they live. Continued investment in biomedical research, public health infrastructure, social welfare programs, and policy reforms will be key to eventually overcoming this ancient yet ongoing threat to human health worldwide.
References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Tuberculosis (TB). https://www.cdc.gov/tb/default.htm custom dissertation writing assistance.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/about/social-ecologicalmodel.html
World Health Organization. (2022). Tuberculosis. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis
World Health Organization. (2022). Global tuberculosis report 2022. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240053713

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