Mycobacterium tuberculosis - The pathogen responsible for tuberculosis doesn’t require any specific growth conditions. This is why it can affect many organs in the human body.
The bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. It requires very simple growth conditions to multiply and they are quite adaptable to survive in adverse conditions as well.
Inside the human body this bacteria multiplies even in the macrophage phagosome of lungs, which offers very harsh conditions for any microbial species. In these conditions the pathogen remains in a dormant phase for years. When body’s immune system becomes weak, the pathogen regains its activity and causes the disease. It is virulent because of its high resistance to antibiotics, high oxidatives and even to acidic and alkaline conditions.
The tuberculosis bacterium causes numerous complications which if left untreated, can prove to be fatal. Tuberculosis complications destroy the body’s immune system, making it sensitive to more bacterial attack.
Normally the pathogen infects the lungs causing pulmonary tuberculosis, but it can affect other body parts also such as spinal cord, brain and kidneys. Depending on the site of infection, it is broadly classified as:
It is the tuberculosis of lungs and is the most prevalent kind of the disease. The bacteria colonise in the lungs and then destroy the living cells and tissues. Sores appear on the lungs and if left untreated, they turn into cavities.
It includes the tuberculosis of spines, bones, intestine and brain. They are further classified as:
- TB Meningitis - It is also called tuberculosis of the brain or brain fever. The membrane lining the brain (meninges) gets infected causing stiffening of the neck, vomiting and drowsiness. Normally children get affected with this form of TB.
- TB of the bone- It is also known as osteal tuberculosis. It causes bone deformation, weakening of the bones and even bone fractures. It affects the spinal cord and bone joints, leading to swelling and bending of the bones.
- Abdominal TB- It is also referred to as TB Peritonitis. This kind of TB results in swelling of the outer lining of the abdomen due to fluid accumulation. The person feels pain accompanied with fever.
- TB Pleurisy- It is the TB of the chest. In this the space between the lungs and the chest wall (pleural space) gets affected, thereby causing breathing problems. Patients with TB pleurisy have the tendency to develop other forms of TB as well.
- TB of the heart- It is also known as TB Pericarditis. It is a very severe form of tuberculosis where the heart’s ability to pump blood gets affected. This can cause cardiac arrest and strokes.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a severely infectious agent and requires a very strict medical regimen for permanent cure. It’s better to prevent this disease by proper vaccination and regular checkups if suspected.
Read more articles on Understand Tuberculosis.
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