“Tuberculosis” is a modern disease.
Tuberculosis was a serious infectious disease that was considered a “national disease” for a long time from the Meiji era to the Showa 20s (1945).
Until 1950, the number of people who died from tuberculosis each year was one hundred tens of thousands of people and was the number one cause of death.
Today, medical care and living standards have improved, and it is an era where medication can completely cure the disease, but even today, every year around 17,000 people nationwide and In the city of Hiroshima there are also more than 100 new cases of tuberculosis, and it is not a “disease of the past”.
Japan is still considered as the “middle rate country” (*) in the world.
In recent years, the aging of patients and the increase of young foreign patients etc. has become a big problem.
(*) Countries where the incidence of new tuberculosis is between 10 and less than 100 per 100,000 population per year
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is spread through coughing or sneezing from people who have TB. Even when infected, many people live their whole life without getting sick, but when the body’s immunity is reduced, it is easy to get sick.
When tuberculosis develops, symptoms such as cough or sputum, low-grade fever occur.
If left untreated, symptoms can progress and spread to those around them, and sometimes lead to death.
Tuberculosis is more common in the elderly
There were 108 people with tuberculosis in Hiroshima city in 2018, of which about 70% were elderly 65 years of age or older.
This is thought to be the case of many people being infected during an era when tuberculosis was widespread with old age, and immunity decreased and the disease developed.
We do a “tuberculosis medical check-up (chest X-ray exam)” free of charge to people 65 years of age and older.
Get this check-up once a year, even if you have no symptoms like cough etc.
Information on “tuberculosis health check-ups” is available here.
The case was diagnosed as tuberculosis
In the health centre, for persons diagnosed with tuberculosis, when it is recognized as necessary to prevent the spread of TB, based on the law (*), a recommendation for hospitalization or employment restrictions. In addition, in case there is suspicion of transmission to family members or people around, a physical examination will be performed (eg, chest X-ray or blood test).
*Law on the prevention of infectious diseases and the medical care of patients with infectious diseases
About the regime of public expenses paid in TB medical fees
There is a system where the medical fees necessary for the treatment of tuberculosis are paid at public expense based on the application of the TB patient or their guardian.
When public expenses are paid, the treatment must comply with the TB medical standards set by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Besides, the amount of public expenses paid is different depending on hospital admission or outpatient, medical content, income level, etc. For details, please contact the county health canter.
How to treat tuberculosis?
Take anti-tuberculosis medicine (medicine that kills TB bacteria) for 6 to 9 months.
Tuberculosis bacteria are very stubborn, so the duration of the drug is prolonged, but even if the symptoms disappear, if you stop taking the medicine halfway, the TB bacteria will increase again, and not only will the disease not be cured, but there will be no cure. when the drug will no longer be effective against TB bacteria (drug-resistant). Treatment of tuberculosis that has acquired drug resistance is very difficult and the duration of treatment is also longer.
If you have tuberculosis, follow your doctor’s directions and be sure to take it for 6 to 9 months.
If unfortunately there are any side effects while taking the drug, do not stop taking it on your own, but consult your primary doctor.
Let’s prevent tuberculosis
Just because you are infected with TB bacteria does not mean you will get sick, but normally your immune function works to prevent the growth of TB bacteria.
To prevent infection, prevent illness, practice the following four things every day to strengthen immune function.
(1) Proper exercise.
(2) Eating and drinking should be equal, regardless of likes and dislikes.
(3) Get enough sleep.
(4) No smoking.
Besides, for infants with weak resistance, they are more likely to be infected with tuberculosis, so vaccination (BCG) (*2) is effective.
(The recommended injection period is 5~8 months after birth)