TB Chapter – Part 1

I have Latent TB. This is my story.

The investigation and diagnosis

It started off with a new colleague at my workplace being diagnosed with active pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Which consequently led to all her close contacts being screened for it as well. It was normal practice for every new staff to have themselves checked for PTB, a similar process I went through about 2 years ago, with a negative result.

The screening process involved going through the symptoms and sending a sputum sample (if present), doing a chest XRAY and a Mantoux test.

I had no symptoms, my chest XRAY was normal BUT my Mantoux test was glaringly positive this time around. Even I was shocked because I never had this response during my previous Mantoux tests done in my previous workplace and upon entering this new premise.

This was between 24 – 48 hours

Since we had a blood test called IGRA to further confirm the diagnosis, I took the test. Lo and behold, it was POSITIVE. There is no denying of the TB organism in my body- only that it is asleep. It does not have the capacity to give me an infection that manifests the classic symptoms of TB. Now it is my choice of whether I would want to be treated for it or otherwise. Of course in medicine there is no 100% guarantee that it will wipe away the TB and prevent reactivation but it is worth trying.

Initiating Treatment

I first had to do a baseline blood test for my liver function. I ended up screening for my cholesterol and diabetes all. Since my blood works are fine, my doc discussed with me of a few treatment regimes. There are monotherapy treatments which can take up to 6 months and a combination therapy for 3 months. I missed the trial period for a study using a drug called Rifapentine which is to be taken weekly for 6 weeks. Therefore, my choices are limited. My attending Dr and I agreed upon the combination therapy.

My regime is Akurit-2 (rifampicin + isoniazide) 4 tabs daily & pyridoxine 10mg once daily for 90 days. If my weight was less than 55kg, I would have been given 3 tabs instead. It is weight dependent. ha ha ha.

Expected major reactions would be a red-orange hue in my body secretions (tears, urine, sweat) and a degree of peripheral neuropathy. Perhaps also bodily ache and gastrointestinal symptoms. My liver functions will be monitored on intervals and I will personally look out for a tinge of jaundice on myself.

Will update later on how soon I turn orange-red.

3R : Read, Reflect, Respond

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