Curb Drug-Resistant TB with Mask

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A research report has submitted that if the tuberculosis patients wore the surgical masks the entire day, it will condense the likelihood of spreading the infection through air by almost half. This is something great, says Dr. Rod Escombe. He is a researcher at the Imperial College of London, who was not engaged in the study. He says that he had already suggested this and it was already approved by the guidelines but we have never had any proof before, if wearing the mask would work. Tuberculosis is a disease which is caused by bacterial infection, while most of them can be treated with antibiotics.

The merits and demerits of masks:

These masks have been considered to diminish the transmission of TB, as the bacteria are transmitted through the air droplets which are coughed by patients. All the healthcare workers and people who wear masks were found uninfected. To ascertain how effective these masks were, these workers were asked to wear the masks on alternate days. On the days when they wore masks, the air from the infected individual’s room was ventilated into a chamber along with 90 guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are most susceptible to TB and this set-up will prove to be a good measure to show how infectious healthcare individuals are.

After period of 3 months, 36 pigs and patients who wore masks breathed air and they were found to be positive for infection and 69 pigs contracted TB from the air on the days when the patients didn’t wear masks. In places like South Africa, where transmission of TB is high, it is important to reduce this by making the infected people wear masks.  Though these masks are simple and inexpensive to use, they might not be feasible in various cases, as wearing masks might be seen as a negative label.


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