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Tuberculosis: Resurgence in France

Health

20 June 2024

After a period of declining cases during the years marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, tuberculosis has seen a resurgence in France since 2023. Although the incidence remains low compared to other regions of the world, Santé publique France emphasizes the importance of maintaining efforts in prevention and control.

What is tuberculosis? Modes of transmission, Symptoms, and Treatment

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, transmitted through the air. It is the cough of infected individuals that transmits the bacteria via droplets suspended in the air.

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With a size ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 μm, tuberculosis primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. WHO estimates that 5 to 10% of infected individuals will develop symptoms and become contagious.

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Symptoms of active tuberculosis are varied and primarily affect the lungs and respiratory tract. Here is a detailed list of these symptoms:

  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of the body such as the brain, spine, bones, kidneys, and lymph nodes.

To confirm the cause of symptoms and identify tuberculosis, diagnosis relies on bacteriological tests and radiological examinations.

Effective anti-tuberculosis treatment, lasting a minimum of six months, can cure the disease if followed correctly. However, antibiotic-resistant strains complicate treatment, requiring prolonged and costly therapies.

The sequelae of tuberculosis, including post-tuberculous lung disease, pose a growing challenge. Studies indicate that individuals who have survived tuberculosis are at increased risk of mortality and developing chronic respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

Importance of Prevention and Vaccination

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The BCG vaccine remains the only vaccine available against tuberculosis. It is recommended in countries where tuberculosis is endemic, primarily for newborns and young children. Ideally, it is administered shortly after birth, often within the first few days of life. This strategy aims to protect children from severe forms of tuberculosis, including tuberculous meningitis and miliary tuberculosis.

As for booster doses, the necessity may vary based on national recommendations and local epidemiological context. In many countries, a single BCG vaccine at birth is considered sufficient for long-term protection against severe forms of tuberculosis during childhood.

As tuberculosis is transmitted through the air, it can spread in enclosed spaces, necessitating additional measures to reduce the risk of contagion. Monitoring indoor air quality is crucial to limit transmission.

The use of air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters is an effective solution to filter and isolate bacterial particles responsible for tuberculosis, thereby contributing to maintaining a safer and healthier indoor environment.

These devices are particularly recommended in areas where tuberculosis is prevalent or in healthcare settings to protect staff and patients from this infectious disease.

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Epidemiological Situation

In France

According to the weekly epidemiological bulletin from Santé publique France (No. 6-7 | March 19, 2024), the number of tuberculosis cases increased in 2023, reaching 4,728 reported cases. This increase follows three consecutive years of decline. The most affected regions include French Guiana, Mayotte, and Île-de-France.

The reasons for this increase are manifold. Successive lockdowns and health measures implemented to combat Covid-19 reduced social interactions, and mask-wearing limited transmission, echoing historical methods of tuberculosis control. However, these same measures also led to difficulties in accessing healthcare, reducing diagnoses. Additionally, the arrival of refugees from countries with a high incidence of tuberculosis, such as Ukraine and Georgia, contributed to this increase.

Global

Globally, tuberculosis remains a major concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 10.6 million people developed the disease in 2022, with 1.3 million deaths. The number of reported cases in 2022 increased by 16% compared to 2021, marking a significant rise not seen since the 1990s.

Devices to Prevent Cross-Contamination from Tuberculosis

Eolis Air Manager, medical-grade air purifier

EOLIS Air Manager, developed by NatéoSanté, is a professional air purifier designed to ensure healthy indoor air and prevent cross-contamination in various professional environments.

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High-Quality Medical Filtration

EOLIS Air Manager uses a certified medical-grade filtration system, including HEPA H13 filters compliant with EN 1822 standard. These filters can capture 99.95% of fine particles, including viruses, bacteria, and spores, ensuring high-quality purified air.

UV-C Germicidal Technology

The UV-C lamps integrated into the EOLIS 600S and 1200S models play a crucial role in destroying microorganisms. These lamps eliminate bacteria, viruses, and fungi by disinfecting the air passing through the purifier.

Activated Carbon Filter and Oxidation Filter

The Very High Density (VHD) activated carbon filter and the oxidation filter work together to eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gases, smoke, and odors. This combination effectively neutralizes chemical and organic pollutants present in the air.

Bactericidal, Virucidal, and Acaricidal Prefilter

The removable pre-filter is certified ISO 18184 and NF G39-011, ensuring bactericidal, virucidal, and acaricidal action. This pre-filter captures larger particles and microorganisms before they reach the HEPA and activated carbon filters, thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the system.

Background Treatment with Active Oxygen

The 600S and 1200S models feature the Deep Clean function, which generates active oxygen for thorough treatment in just 60 minutes. This powerful natural agent eliminates embedded odors, dust mites, mold, and fungi, ensuring deep disinfection of environments.

High-Tech Sensors and Real-Time Monitoring

EOLIS Air Manager is equipped with sensors that continuously measure air quality, distinguishing between volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and fine particles (PM2.5). This real-time information is displayed on an intuitive touchscreen, allowing users to monitor and manage air quality effectively. Additionally, an exclusive supervision system enables remote management of multiple devices, facilitating maintenance and optimizing device performance across the board.

We present in the table below the filtration performance according to EPA, HEPA, and ULPA standards, crucial criteria for preventing cross-contamination, including potential tuberculosis. This table highlights the minimum particle retention values (%) and particle sizes approaching 100% retention (μm) for each filter class, from E10 to U17.

Choosing a HEPA H13 filter is particularly beneficial due to its particle retention efficiency of up to 99.95%, including critical particles such as those from tuberculosis bacteria, ranging in size from 0.5 to 1 micron.

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The increase in tuberculosis cases in France in 2023 underscores the need for continued vigilance. Access to diagnosis and treatment, as well as patient follow-up, are essential to control this disease. Reducing the risk of airborne cross-contamination of tuberculosis is key to combating the epidemic. By combining advanced filtration technologies, UV-C disinfection systems, intelligent sensors, and real-time management features, NatéoSanté's EOLIS Air Manager is the ally that ensures effective air purification with proven efficiency by leading independent French laboratories.

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