Write a paper (2,000-2,500 words) in which you apply the concepts of epidemiology and nursing research to a communicable disease. Refer to “Communicable Disease Chain,” “Chain of Infection,” and the CDC website for assistance when completing this assignment. Choose one communicable disease from the options below. Address the following: A minimum of three is required. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

Introduction

In recent years, the field of epidemiology has played a crucial role in understanding and controlling the spread of communicable diseases. Nursing research has also contributed significantly to this field by providing evidence-based interventions and strategies for prevention and management of these diseases. This paper aims to apply the concepts of epidemiology and nursing research to the communicable disease known as tuberculosis (TB). By analyzing the communicable disease chain and the chain of infection, as well as referencing authoritative sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, this paper will explore the various aspects of TB and the corresponding nursing interventions.

Epidemiology of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. According to the CDC (2021), TB is a leading cause of death worldwide and is responsible for nearly 1.5 million deaths annually. It is primarily transmitted via airborne droplets when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or talks. The risk of transmission is higher in crowded and poorly ventilated areas, making it a concern within healthcare settings, prisons, and communities with limited resources.

The Chain of Infection for Tuberculosis

Understanding the chain of infection is crucial in preventing the transmission of communicable diseases. In the case of TB, the chain of infection consists of six linked elements: the infectious agent (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), the reservoir (infected humans), the portal of exit (respiratory system), the mode of transmission (airborne droplets), the portal of entry (respiratory system), and the susceptible host (CDC, 2021). Breaking any link in this chain can effectively interrupt the transmission of TB.

The Infectious Agent: Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of TB. It is a slow-growing bacterium that primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other organs such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. It is highly resistant to environmental conditions, allowing it to survive for extended periods in droplet nuclei in the air. This resilience makes it particularly challenging to control and eradicate the disease.

The Reservoir: Infected Humans

The primary reservoir for Mycobacterium tuberculosis is infected humans, particularly those with active pulmonary TB. Individuals with active TB excrete the bacteria through respiratory secretions, such as coughing, sneezing, or talking. The bacteria can remain viable in the air for several hours, increasing the risk of transmission to susceptible individuals. Prompt identification, isolation, and treatment of individuals with active TB are crucial in breaking the chain of infection.

The Portal of Exit and Mode of Transmission

The portal of exit for Mycobacterium tuberculosis is primarily the respiratory system. When an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or talks, they release infectious droplets containing the bacteria into the air. These droplets, when inhaled by susceptible individuals, can lead to infection. The mode of transmission is through airborne droplets that are generated when an infected person performs the aforementioned respiratory activities.

The Portal of Entry: Respiratory System

The respiratory system serves as the portal of entry for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. When susceptible individuals inhale the infected droplets, the bacteria can enter the lungs and establish infection. Factors such as compromised immune systems, close contact with infected individuals, and prolonged exposure to infected environments increase the susceptibility to TB infection. Implementing preventive measures such as respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and appropriate personal protective equipment can reduce the risk of transmission.