DUHS CME - Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases




Terminology / Definitions


Learn the meaning of common terms used in literature of TB

adherence to treatment – following the recommended course of treatment by taking all the prescribed medications for the entire length of time necessary.

adverse reaction – negative side effect resulting from the use of a drug (for example, hepatitis, nausea, headache).

antiretroviral therapy (ARV) – a lifelong combination drug treatment to improve the quality and length of life for a person living with HIV/AIDS.

Tuberculosis suspect. Any person who presents with symptoms or signs suggestive of Tuberculosis. The most common symptom of pulmonary TB is a productive cough for more than 2 weeks, which may be accompanied by other respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pains, haemoptysis) and/or constitutional symptoms (loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, night sweats, and fatigue).

Case of tuberculosis. Is a definite case of TB (defined below) or one in which a health worker (clinician or other medical practitioner) has diagnosed TB and has decided to treat the patient with a full course of anti-TB treatment.


Note. Any person given treatment for TB should be recorded as a case. Incomplete “trial” TB treatment should not be given as a method for diagnosis.


case management – a system in which a specific health department employee is assigned primary responsibility for the patient, systematic regular review of patient progress is conducted, and plans are made to address any barriers to adherence.

clinical evaluation – an evaluation done to find out whether a patient has symptoms of TB disease or is responding to treatment; also done to check for adverse reaction to TB medications.

continuation phase – the period after the first 8 weeks of TB disease treatment, during which tubercle bacilli that remain after the initial phase are treated with at least two drugs.

Case rate – the number of cases that occur during a certain time period, divided by the size of the population during that time period; the case rate is often expressed in terms of a population size of 100,000 persons.

Case reporting – informing the state or local health department when a new case (an occurrence) of TB disease has been diagnosed or is suspected.

Close contacts – people who spend time with someone who has infectious TB disease.

Congregate setting – a setting in which a group of usually unrelated persons reside in close physical proximity. These settings may include hospitals, long term care facilities, assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, or homeless shelters (see residential facilities).

Contact investigation – a procedure for interviewing a person who has TB disease to determine who may have been exposed to TB. People who have been exposed to TB are tested for LTBI and TB disease.

daily regimen – a treatment schedule in which the patient takes a dose of each prescribed medication every day.

directly observed therapy (DOT) – a strategy devised to help patients adhere to treatment; a designated person watches the TB patient swallow each dose of the prescribed drugs.

Definite case of tuberculosis. A patient with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex identified from a clinical specimen, either by culture or by a newer method such as molecular line probe assay.

ethambutol (EMB) – a drug used to treat TB disease; may cause vision problems. Ethambutol should be used cautiously in children who are too young to be monitored for changes in their vision.

extensively drug resistant TB (XDR TB) – a rare type of MDR TB which is resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, plus resistant to any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs (i.e., amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin).

Epidemiology – the study of the distribution and causes of disease and other health problems in different groups of people.

Health care facilities – places where people receive health care, such as hospitals or clinics.

hepatitis – inflammation of the liver, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, and dark urine; hepatitis can be caused by several drugs used to treat LTBI or TB disease.

Infection control procedures – measures to prevent the spread of TB.

initial phase – the first 8 weeks of TB disease treatment, during which most of the tubercle bacilli are killed.

intermittent therapy – a treatment schedule in which the patient takes each prescribed medication two or three times weekly at the appropriate dosage.

isoniazid (INH) – a drug that is used for treating LTBI and TB disease; although relatively safe, it may cause hepatitis and other adverse reaction in some patients.

liver function tests – tests done to detect injury to the liver.

LTBI treatment – medication that is given to people who have TB infection to prevent them from developing TB disease.

multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) – TB that is resistant to isoniazid and rifampin; more difficult to treat than drug-susceptible.

peripheral neuropathy – damage to the sensory nerves of the hands and feet, causing a tingling sensation or a weakened sense of touch in the hands and feet.

primary TB – primary TB generally affects the mid and lower lung; in children this form of TB is much more common.

pyridoxine – another name for vitamin B6; it is given to prevent peripheral neuropathy; should always be given to pregnant and breastfeeding women on isoniazid.

reactivation (post-primary) TB – TB that generally affects upper lobes; sometimes with cavities and is usually found in adults. Sometimes called adult-type TB.

H isoniazid
R rifampacin
S streptomycin
E ethambutol
Z pyrazinamide
ATT anti tuberculosis treatment
TB tuberculosis



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