What do Moulin Rouge, Les Miserables, and The Imitation Game have in common? Aside from being Oscar-nominated movies, they have characters who are affected by and ultimately die of Tuberculosis. Additionally, many famous actors also have something in common; Hepatitis C. Another dangerous disease that impacts people around the world.
As much as we hear about these diseases in movies or in articles about our favorite stars, many of us don’t have an understanding of these dangerous but preventable conditions.
To understand Tuberculosis or TB and know the difference between Hepatitis A, B, and C it’s important to understand the symptoms of these infectious diseases, their method of transmission, and the basics about them. Prevention of these diseases is all about reducing transmission, whether through vaccination, personal protection, or sanitation.
Let’s review the Tuberculosis symptoms and treatments and find out what the differences between Hepatitis A, B, and C are.
Tuberculosis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
As the world’s second-deadliest infectious disease, Tuberculosis takes the lives of 1.5 to 2 million people annually. First appearing in the 1800s, it has experienced a recent resurgence as it has grown resistant to standard drug therapies.
So what is Tuberculosis? Tuberculosis or TB is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria known as tubercle bacillus. The inflammation it causes attacks the lungs, resulting in damage to an individual’s respiratory system. However, TB can also impact other parts of the body, including the kidneys and spine.
Tuberculosis symptoms vary greatly and include coughing, fever, weight loss, night sweats, chest pain, feelings of weakness, and coughing up blood. It was referred to as “the consumption” in the early days because of the weight loss associated with the disease leaving its victims looking consumed or wasted away by it.
TB can be contracted through the inhalation of bacteria from an infected individual’s cough or sneeze. The good news is that a single instance of exposure is unlikely to result in an individual contracting the disease. In fact, exposure needs to be regular, day to day in general, in order to contract it, rather than through casual contact.
With that said, it is possible for TB to remain in the air for several hours, and anyone who breathes in this contaminated area can potentially become infected. This occurrence is known as a latent TB infection. Those who experience this kind of infection will have the germs present in their system, even if they are not active and causing symptoms of Tuberculosis.
Treatment is primarily drug therapy, although following treatment, massage is often used to relieve spasms and pain which can result from the infection. It is imperative that individuals diagnosed with Tuberculosis continue to take their prescribed medication. Not only will the Tuberculosis symptoms reemerge, but the TB that is present in their system can grow resistant to the medication and become harder to treat.
What’s the Difference Between Hepatitis A, B, and C?
Many diseases have donned the moniker “The Silent Killer.” Currently, 95% of people globally infected with hepatitis are unaware of their infections and roughly 1 million die from it every year making Hepatitis the clear winner of the title.
At its most basic, Hepatitis is the inflammation of an individual’s liver. This is typically caused by viral infections but may be caused by alcohol/drug use or certain medical conditions. There are 3 types, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. It should be noted that types B and C of viral hepatitis are considered the leading cause of liver cancer. Regardless of the type of hepatitis, many of those that carry the virus do not know they’re infected making treatment and management incredibly difficult.
If you’re curious about the differences between Hepatitis A, B, and C, here is an overview of each and how they differ from one another.
Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can be transmitted in many different ways. It’s generally transmitted by person-to-person contact or through the consumption of food or water that has been contaminated by the fecal matter of someone who has the virus. This is, unfortunately, incredibly common when consuming raw shellfish, fruits, or vegetables prepared by someone with the virus as well as at daycare centers if employees don’t wash their hands well after changing diapers. You can also contract Hepatitis A by taking care of someone who has it or having intercourse with them.
Hepatitis A incubates between 15 and 50 days and causes a self-limiting disease that replicates in the liver and causes inflammation. Symptoms can be mild and last a few weeks or be more severe and last months. But compared to Hepatitis B and C, Hepatitis A is a less severe viral infection as almost everyone who contracts it gets better over time.
Luckily, there is a way to protect yourself from it without having to give up delicious seafood. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent this disease’s transmission, as those with antibodies for the virus are heavily protected.
Hepatitis B doesn’t spread through kissing, shared food or water, or coughing and sneezing. People typically get it from unprotected sex, sharing needles or accidental needle sticks, and through their mothers during birth. About 1.2 million people in the US have the virus but only half of the infections are symptomatic. Additionally, symptoms can take between six weeks and six months to manifest.
Those with chronic Hepatitis B have an increased risk of developing liver cancer, although early treatment can reduce the chances of cancer development. However, it is possible for individuals with Hepatitis B not to notice the symptoms until they have sustained significant liver damage. The virus can reactivate later on in life as well, leading to delayed diagnosis.
Screening pregnant women, employing vaccinations, and using protection during sex all work to prevent the disease. Taking the necessary antiviral medications and performing the proper preventative measures are essential for preventing Hepatitis B from reemerging unexpectedly. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to Hepatitis B, get tested as soon as possible as treating it sooner can help you avoid long-term liver problems.
Unlike the other two variations of the virus, Hepatitis C is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the U.S. today with about 2.4 million people infected. As many as 70% of those infected do not exhibit any symptoms, but the disease can be detected through blood testing from one to three weeks after the infection occurs.
Hepatitis C is transmitted through infected blood transfusions, drug injections or needle sticks, tattooing, shared personal items such as razors or toothbrushes, manicuring and pedicuring equipment, and through sexual exposure.
Hepatitis C can become chronic, and if this occurs, liver damage and liver cancer risk may follow. Those over 50 years of age, who drink alcohol, and have another kind of liver disease will be more at risk for developing it. Individuals who have contracted Hepatitis C can potentially contract it again even after finishing treatment, so it’s best not to make any assumptions about this deadly virus.
Knowledge of Hepatitis and Tuberculosis is the Best Shield Against Them
Recognizing Tuberculosis symptoms and the difference between Hepatitis A, B, and C, and understanding their methods of transmission can save lives and prevent further infections from taking place. At Medtrainer, we can help you identify all aspects of these illnesses, their transmission, and prevention.
Healthcare organizations play a pivotal role in preventing the spread of illnesses like Tuberculosis and Hepatitis, as well as treating patients who have contracted such infections. Institutions that want to enhance the efficiency of their operations and further their employee’s medical knowledge can turn to MedTrainer’s medical e-learning platform for support. Our compliance corner will help you properly follow guidelines so you can prevent the spread of dangerous diseases in a healthcare setting.
Check out our library of Infection Control and Prevention courses today!