Dr. Serge Lartchenko is sympathetic toward those with anxiety about a tuberculosis diagnosis. Tuberculosis is a serious infection, but the treatment tools now available should leave you at ease. With knowledge and proper treatment, we believe Texas Infectious Disease Institute can make tuberculosis less distressing for North Texans.
Dealing with a major infection like tuberculosis can be stressful. Thankfully, Dr. Serge Lartchenko has the expertise to help treat the most difficult cases. Put yourself at ease, and trust an infectious disease expert who has helped patients other doctors were unable to treat.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Approximately one third of the world population carries Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Fortunately, only about ten percent of individuals with the tuberculosis bacteria develop the chronic condition of tuberculosis.
Carriers of the disease who don’t show symptoms are considered to have a latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). People with LTBI will show no symptoms and will not be contagious. This is the ideal time for treatment as doctors can eliminate the infection, before it causes any serious health issues. Skin testing is the only way to detect TB in this stage. Latent tuberculosis develops into the tuberculosis disease when another condition weakens the immune system enough to allow TB to fully express itself.
When the disease becomes active, it can cause different symptoms and complications based on where the initial infection attacked and where it spreads to. Most patients will experience the following symptoms during an active tuberculosis infection:
- Coughing that lasts more than three weeks
- Coughing blood
- Night Sweats
- Weight Loss
Why Are Doctors Concerned With TB?
In the United States the percentage of TB carriers is lower than the rest of the world, ten percent, but it is still a growing concern for healthcare professionals. This is because of newer strains of tuberculosis that have evolved an immunity against the most powerful antibiotics. The first classification is multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. MDR-TB is resistant to the two most powerful sets of antibiotic treatments used to treat tuberculosis.
The even more insidious strain is XDR-TB (extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis). XDR-TB is a strain that is resistant to the most powerful drugs available to treat tuberculosis as well as two or more of the second line of drugs which are traditionally used when the most effective drugs fail. This new kind of tuberculosis is particularly unsettling for doctors, because there are few treatment options available.
What Are the Risks of TB?
Tuberculosis requires continued contact with someone expressing symptoms for you to catch the bacteria. You shouldn’t be concerned with catching TB from someone on the bus or from a surface you have touched. The tuberculosis virus cannot survive outside a host for long enough to cause an infection. Most people contract the bacteria from a loved one or a coworker.
Talk with your doctor if you have any suspicion that you have come in consistent contact with someone carrying TB. Tuberculosis is relatively easy to treat if it is caught in its latent stage. Timing is critical in the effective treatment of tuberculosis. At the Texas Infectious Disease Institute, we have the skills and knowledge to treat all forms of TB, including XDR-TB, with combinations of antibiotics in varying doses. Trust our expertise, and we will strive to provide you with desirable outcomes. Schedule an appointment now.