Tuberculosis is an infectious disease usually affecting the lungs or larynx and caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterium that easily spreads in areas where many people are together for long periods of time. This includes everything from hospitals to prisons, jails and homeless shelters. Residents of Pennsylvania should know what the dangers are and what can be done after a TB diagnosis.
Usually, those who transmit TB are unaware that they have it or they are the recipient of ineffective or incomplete treatment. The bacterium is expelled through coughing, sneezing, talking and even normal breathing, and it stays in the air in the form of dried particles called droplet nuclei. Infection occurs when other people inhale these particles. Infection normally happens after prolonged sharing of airspace.
Because most people’s immune systems can contain the bacteria, TB infection tends to be latent, does not exhibit symptoms and is not contagious. Without anti-TB drugs, however, the infection can turn into an active disease; the risk for this remains throughout one’s life with the first few years after infection posing the highest risk. The disease can be effectively eliminated through drugs, and even patients with drug-resistant strains have access to alternative medicine as a solution.
When TB infections in the workplace develop into a clinical disease, victims may lose time off work and incur considerable medical expenses. This is why those who are dealing with a serious workplace illness should report to their employer and then contact an attorney about filing for workers’ compensation benefits. To receive these benefits, the victim must prove that the disease was contracted in the workplace. Unlike in a personal injury claim, no proof of the employer’s negligence, if that was the issue to begin with, is required. A lawyer may be able to explain the cap, or monetary limit, to workers’ compensation.