World Tuberculosis Day (WTBD) – a one-day campaign aimed to increase global awareness of tuberculosis (TB) – is observed internationally on March 24 every year. The celebratory date commemorates the discovery of Tubercolosis bacteria by Dr. Robert Koch in 1882. Sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), this campaign aims to generate public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tuberculosis (TB) is the second biggest infectious killer of adults worldwide. An infectious disease that most often affects the lungs, Tuberculosis (popularly known as TB) is caused by a bacterium called “mycobacterium tuberculosis” – which spreads from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes. TB can also affect other parts of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain. If not treated properly, TB can become fatal and progress to an active infection as the patient grows weaker because of risk factors such as HIV, weakened immune system, diabetes, smoking and intake of immune-suppressing medications. Treatment requires patients to consume antibiotic medications for at least six to nine months. Infectious disease specialists and pulmonologists treating TB patients can rely on medical coding outsourcing companies to report TB diagnosis and screening accurately.
Reports suggest that in 2017, 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis and 1.6 million died from the disease worldwide. An estimated 9,105 TB cases were reported in the United States in 2017. The campaign presents a platform to alert the public about the types of TB infection, its major symptoms and the need for undergoing regular diagnosis. Common signs and symptoms of this infectious disease include – coughing (that lasts 3 or more weeks), unintentional weight loss, fatigue, chest pain (while breathing or coughing), coughing up blood, fever and loss of appetite.
Diagnosis of tuberculosis generally begins with a detailed physical examination wherein the physician will check the patient’s lymph nodes for swelling and use a stethoscope to listen carefully to the sounds the lungs make while the patient breathes. A wide range of diagnostic tests such as skin test, blood test, sputum tests and imaging tests like X-rays and CT scans will be conducted to confirm or rule out latent or active tuberculosis. The one-day campaign aims to diagnose TB in its early stages and prevent it if possible.
Generally, treating TB takes a much longer time to treat than other types of bacterial infections. Medications are the cornerstone of tuberculosis treatment. However, the type of medications and the length of treatment depend on the patient’s age, overall health, possible drug resistance and the infection’s location in the body. For active tuberculosis, patients must take antibiotics for at least six to nine months. For latent tuberculosis, medications include Isoniazid, Rifampin, Ethambutol (Myambutol) and Pyrazinamide. For patients who have drug-resistant TB, a combination of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones and injectable medications, such as amikacin or capreomycin (Capastat), are generally used for 20 to 30 months. The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures performed by infectious disease specialists or other physicians must be carefully documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding provided by established medical billing companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes.
ICD-10 codes used for Tuberculosis (TB)
A15 – Respiratory tuberculosis
- A15.0 – Tuberculosis of lung
- A15.4 – Tuberculosis of intrathoracic lymph nodes
- A15.5 – Tuberculosis of larynx, trachea and bronchus
- A15.6 – Tuberculous pleurisy
- A15.7 – Primary respiratory tuberculosis
- A15.8 – Other respiratory tuberculosis
- A15.9 – Respiratory tuberculosis unspecified
A17 – Tuberculosis of nervous system
- A17.0 – Tuberculous meningitis
- A17.1 – Meningeal tuberculoma
- A17.8 – Other tuberculosis of nervous system
- A17.81 – Tuberculoma of brain and spinal cord
- A17.82 – Tuberculous meningoencephalitis
- A17.83 – Tuberculous neuritis
- A17.89 – Other tuberculosis of nervous system
- A17.9 – Tuberculosis of nervous system, unspecified
A18 – Tuberculosis of other organs
- A18.0 – Tuberculosis of bones and joints
- A18.1 – Tuberculosis of genitourinary system
- A18.2 – Tuberculous peripheral lymphadenopathy
- A18.3 – Tuberculosis of intestines, peritoneum and mesenteric glands
- A18.4 – Tuberculosis of skin and subcutaneous tissue
- A18.5 – Tuberculosis of eye
- A18.6 – Tuberculosis of (inner) (middle) ear
- A18.7 – Tuberculosis of adrenal glands
- A18.8 – Tuberculosis of other specified organs
A19 – Miliary tuberculosis
- A19.0 – Acute miliary tuberculosis of a single specified site
- A19.1 – Acute miliary tuberculosis of multiple sites
- A19.2 – Acute miliary tuberculosis, unspecified
- A19.8 – Other miliary tuberculosis
- A19.9 – Miliary tuberculosis, unspecified
The theme for 2019 World TB Day, “Its Time,” is a call to action to end the general stigma associated with TB disease and strengthen TB education and awareness among health care providers. The theme puts the accent on the urgency to act on the commitments made by global leaders to scale up access to TB prevention and treatment; build accountability; ensure sufficient and sustainable financing including that for research; promote an end to stigma and discrimination; and promote an equitable, rights-based and people-centered TB response.
World Tuberculosis Day was first launched in the year 1982 by the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). In 1996, World Health Organization (WHO) joined the union and other organizations that fight TB.In 1998, an initiative named – Stop TB Partnership was incepted as a means of eradicating the infectious disease.
As part of the 2019 campaign, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a joint initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership, with the aim of accelerating the TB response and ensuring access to care, in line with WHO’s overall drive towards Universal Health Coverage. Healthcare providers, government and civil society organizations, affected communities and national/international partners actively participate in this one-day event to accelerate the commitment to end TB.
Join World TB Day! It’s time for action to end TB.