10 to 30% of the Turkish population carries this microbe

Member of the scientific committee of the Ministry of Health on the coronavirus and specialist in lung diseases Prof. Dr. Tevfik Özlü said that 2 billion people worldwide carry the bacteria in the form of latent tuberculosis (TB), while 10-30% of the Turkish population has latent tuberculosis. teacher. Dr. Özlü said that risk groups should be screened for occult tuberculosis and society is also protected when preventive treatment is given to them.


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Karadeniz Technical University Faculty of Medicine Department of Chest Diseases Faculty Member and Member of the Scientific Committee of the Ministry of Health on Coronavirus Prof. Dr. Tevfik Özlü drew attention to hidden tuberculosis cases due to World Tuberculosis Day on March 24.

Responding to questions from Demirören News Agency during the National Lung Health Congress organized by the Association for Lung Health and Intensive Care (ASYOD) from March 16-19 in Antalya, Prof. Dr. Özlü said that when TB is mentioned, it is a disease everyone knows about, but when it comes to latent TB, most people are unaware of it.


Özlü said: “What we call hidden tuberculosis is not really a disease. They are healthy people. In other words, we are talking about people who contracted the tuberculosis germ at the time, the bacillus (bacterium) that caused tuberculosis settled in the body, can survive in some foci but does not cause illness, cause no symptoms, and therefore are not treated because they are not sick.

Although these people are carriers, they have no chance of transmitting the disease. 95-97% of carriers go through this process without ever getting sick. But some of them become active tuberculosis patients during the infection. These are more likely to be conditions that suppress the body’s immune system. This group is important to us. mentioned.


teacher. Dr. Özlü said: “These are skin tests or blood tests. When we do this, we understand that this person has already encountered tuberculosis and gone through the infection process. Not all patients diagnosed with latent tuberculosis need treatment.

But it is important that people at high risk of developing active disease in the future receive what we call “protective” treatments. Around 2 billion people worldwide are believed to have hidden cases of TB.

In Turkey, there are people who carry this microbe between 10 and 30% of the population. The main thing here is to deal with risk groups. In this way, we both protect these people and if they get sick, we prevent them from infecting society.


Stating that they call latent TB cases at high risk of getting sick as a pool of infections, Prof. Dr. Özlü continued his remarks as follows:

“Patients come out of this pool. If we can reduce this reservoir or eliminate it completely with preventive treatments, we have a chance of completely eradicating tuberculosis from the face of the earth. Of course, this is not an easy process.

In this respect, the World Health Organization (WHO), within the framework of the “Termination of Tuberculosis Project”, recommends this practice, i.e. the preventive treatment of latent TB, in particular for countries where active TB is not observed or is very rare. Turkey is one of these countries.


Expressing that it is not possible for everyone to be screened for TB and most of them can survive without getting sick, Prof. Dr. Özlü summarized the process to be followed by saying that the main target group should be the people at risk:

“It is necessary to screen people in the risk group who are likely to fall ill. These are people with an immunosuppressive disease, or who need long-term immunosuppressive treatment, or who come into contact with a new patient with contagious pulmonary tuberculosis and who are thought to be at risk. transmission.

Also, children are very important. If we find this test positive in children, especially under 15, we treat immediately. Because children have a higher risk of developing active disease. In this sense, if there is a patient who needs immunosuppressive treatment, these tests must be done beforehand in patients who need to use biological drugs, which we call anti-TNF, or cortisone to high dose for a long time.

If it is understood that the person has latent tuberculosis, preventive treatment is started, and then other treatments are started. Or if an immunosuppressive disease occurs when they are healthy, for example if they become HIV-positive, the same process is involved. There are people who have to pass this test to go abroad or to work in any job. When we detect positivity in them, if they are part of the risk group, we immediately start preventive treatments.

Stating that TB is an airborne disease like Kovid, similar methods should be applied to prevent it. Dr. Emphasizing that TB is not as common as Kovid, Özlü concluded his remarks as follows:

“In Turkey, 13 out of 100,000 people are detected as new cases. Therefore, it is not as mainstream as Kovid, it is different in that respect. But let’s never forget that prevention is always easier, cheaper and more humane than treatment.

For this reason, it is a more humane, cheaper and more accurate method for people known to be in the risk group in terms of latent tuberculosis, to provide these preventive treatments, both for that person and for society. .


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