A Comparison of Tuberculosis Control Between Australia and Vietnam

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1.0 Introduction

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease which is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. There are three types of TB-related conditions: latent TB infection, reactivation of TB and disseminated disease. It has been reported that one third of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis1. Australia is among the countries that have the lowest rate of TB cases while Vietnam is among those that have the highest rate. TB infection is air-borne and can be tested by tuberculin skin test, TB blood test and x-ray. Drugs are used in medication to treat TB infection and disease. TB can be prevented by national control programs and vaccines. This paper aims to compare and contrast tuberculosis control in Australia and Vietnam.

2.0 Tuberculosis

TB is classified into three forms: primary or latent TB infection, reactivation of TB and miliary or disseminated disease2. Primary infection occurs when airborne particles that contain M.tuberculosis bacilli are inhaled into lungs while reactivation of TB disease take place when the bacteria become endogenously active and replicate rapidly before the immune system can attack them. This is because the immune system is too weak and suppressed. It usually occurs at lungs and is called pulmonary tuberculosis. When large numbers of bacilli start to spread to other parts of the body, miliary disease develops and it is called extrapulmonary tuberculosis.

TB is caused by a complex of five bacteria, namely the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (M.TB complex), which is made up of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. microti, M.canetti and M. africanum2. M. tuberculosis consists of aerobic bacilli and can “multiply only once every 24 hours and take a month to form a co...

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