Sample Nursing Research Paper on Infectious Disease: Tuberculosis

Infectious Disease: Tuberculosis

Analysis of the Communicable Disease

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality around the world. It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which affects the lungs (Knechel, 2009). The disease is transmitted through airborne droplets via coughs and sneezes from one person to another, and it is often initially asymptomatic. Although an individual’s body may harbor the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the immune system may prevent them from being sick. Thus, two types of TB have been identified including latent and active TB. In latent TB, bacteria are believed to be in an inactive state in the individual’s body hence causing no symptoms. For active TB, the bacteria are active and make the individual sick and the condition aids in the spread of the communicable disease to others. Symptoms of active TB vary from individual to individual although common ones include fatigue, night sweats, chills, loss of appetite, and chills.  TB patients tend to cough up blood and experience breathing problems.

TB can be treated by taking Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs such as isoniazid and rifampin for 6-9 months. Furthermore, patients may register unintentional weight loss. World Health Organization (WHO) identifies TB as one of the major causes of death and the most infectious agent. WHO statistics show that millions of people across the world continue to fall sick with TB yearly. Statics show that in 2017, 1.3 million deaths were registered as a result of TB. It is estimated that out of a population of 100, 000 people, 50 to 60 new cases of TB are registered per year. WHO data also show that the mortality rate is half the disease incidence meaning that over 2.6 million TB cases are registered on a yearly basis. The prevalent cases registered are twice the number of registered incident cases in one year implying that over 5.3 million cases are or may be registered in one year.

Determinants of Health-Related To TB

Some of the key determinants of TB epidemiology range from urbanization and population growth to socioeconomic levels. The ever-increasing population mobility is also a key determinant of TB epidemiology. The outcomes of these condition include the distribution of health and social determinants that are related such as poor environmental conditions, poor housing, financial and cultural barriers when it comes to the access of care services (Hargreaves, Boccia, Evans, Adato, Petticrew, & Porter, 2011). Poor housing and environmental conditions always widen the risk of those uninfected persons from being exposed to the TB infection. Moreover, poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition often increase individuals’ susceptibility to TB infection and severity of the clinical outcomes (Hargreaves, Boccia, Evans, Adato, Petticrew, & Porter, 2011). Cultural and financial barriers always hinder infected TB individuals from accessing care services, hence increasing the mortality, morbidity, incidence, and prevalence of the TB cases worldwide.

Epidemiological Triad

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an epidemic as an occurrence of several cases related to disease as well as other health-related conditions that are beyond expectation among a group of people or in a given area. In investigating how the disease spreads and how to control it, the epidemiological triad is invaluable. The epidemiologic triangle consists of three parts; the agent, host, and the environment. An agent is described as a microorganism that causes the disease or condition in concern. The primary agent of TB is Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Knechel, 2009). The host identified as an organism that carries the disease in question and may be sick as a result of the disease. The host of TB is human beings, and it majorly affects the lungs as they allow the Mycobacterium growth and functioning. The environment is the outside factors that increase the risk of TB disease outbreak. Environmental factors that aid in the outbreak and spread of TB infection include poor housing and environmental conditions, poor hygiene, poor food security and malnutrition, and others.

Role of Nurse Practitioner in TB Management

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), nurses are required to attain work license and focus on managing people’s health conditions and preventing the outbreak and spread of diseases. The roles of primary care nurse practitioners as defined by AANP are to provide general and preventative care, treat various diseases and conditions, perform or order lab tests, and conduct check-ups for all patients (Kleinpell, Ely, & Grabenkort, 2008). The role of primary care nurse practitioners in TB management is to prescribe the right treatment of drugs to TB patients. This prevents the patient from suffering or experiencing the second incident of tuberculosis. They are obliged to order for drug susceptibility testing at the start of therapy to ensure that the treatment offered to the patient certainly improves his or her health outcome (Kleinpell, Ely, & Grabenkort, 2008). Primary care nurse practitioners are also mandated to monitor the health of the TB patients to ensure they take the drug and recover from the disease. Moreover, they are required to make recommendations and solutions on how to prevent the outbreak and spread of TB within a given population.


Hargreaves, J. R., Boccia, D., Evans, C. A., Adato, M., Petticrew, M., & Porter, J. D. (2011). The social determinants of tuberculosis: From evidence to action. American Journal of Public Health101(4), 654-662. Retrieved from

Kleinpell, R. M., Ely, E. W., & Grabenkort, R. (2008). Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in the Intensive Care Unit: An Evidence-Based Review. Critical Care Medicine36(10), 2888-2897. Retrieved from

Knechel, N. A. (2009). Tuberculosis: Pathophysiology, Clinical Features, and Diagnosis. Critical Care Nurse29(2), 34-43. Retrieved from