Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of those diseases that is prevalent around the world, more so if the socio-economic status of the country is lower. It can kill, but this is usually a slow process, and treatment is effective, if not long winded. It is transmitted in the expired air of its victims - such as when they cough - so beware!

Vaccination is available but often complicates the treatment and it is not very effective anyway (about 50% success rate). For these reasons, usually it is given to those under 5 years of age and only if they will be staying longer than 6 months in a developing nation. Some health care workers will also be recommended vaccination. Some overseas employers will insist on it even though it may not be medically necessary.

In Adelaide (and South Australia) the Chest Clinic on North Terrace (part of Royal Adelaide Hospital) is the only place this vaccination is obtainable and they have limited hours when this is available. A pre-vaccination test is required (Mantoux test) 3 days prior to the vaccination so it is not that simple to get vaccinated.

It will result in a scar on your arm. If you are over 25 (in 2006) it is likely you have already had one at school. One is the maximum any individual can have.

Most people who have TB will not know it, but it is a lung disease and eventually coughing and breathing problems will occur.

Our clinic has chosen not to do the vaccination but can perform the Mantoux test or the Quantiferon Gold test. This can be useful after a prolonged trip to determine if TB has been contracted (even before symptoms occur). In the unlikely event of a positive test being recorded we can make the appropriate referral for treatment of this condition

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