Posted by: msmc4 | March 24, 2010

Tuberculosis

While browsing through the website CNN Health, I was very surprised to come across several articles regarding Tuberculosis (TB) in the US.  Unfortunately, these type of articles show that the occurrence of TB is on the rise, and if not addressed many believe it will be the “plague” of future generations.

According to the CDC, TB is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This type of bacteria primarily attacks the lungs; however, it has the possibility to attack other parts of the body. If TB goes untreated, it has the potential to be fatal. There are two conditions associated with TB: latent TB infection and TB disease. A person with latent TB is not infectious, but still carries the bacteria. On the other hand, TB disease is active and considered very contagious. TB is spread through the inhalation of respiratory droplets. In other words, a person with active TB can release germs from their body into the air through coughing, sneezing, speaking, and even singing. People nearby may breathe in the bacteria and then contract TB. Fortunately, TB is curable through the administration of antibiotics.

Even though TB is curable, there are several reasons why I believe that a more aggressive approach to TB is needed. TB is curable and has been around for centuries, and yet we still have been unable to eradicate it. Researchers put the number of deaths caused by TB each year in the millions. Even with this statistic, the primary diagnostic method and vaccine for TB date almost a century old. Some may say that research for a more modern vaccine and diagnostic method is unnecessary because the antibiotic is still effective. However, over the past few years researchers have seen an increase in the number of multiple drug resistant TB cases. Eventually the antibiotic, which was developed in the 1960’s, could be completely ineffective against the new strains of TB.

Here is a video giving a glimpse into the issue of TB.

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Responses

  1. I have a friend that works for the Health Department and she went to homes in Utah to assess them for TB. (see if the people had symptoms). This is a real problem and is being brought from other countries. My friend actually caught TB on one of the trips even though she didn’t see anyone with the symptoms. She has been treated and is fine, but it is ridiculously contagious.

  2. I saw a lot of people with TB in South Africa. It’s a tough disease to deal with because it’s so virulent. I hope a treatment comes along that is more immediate in its results.

  3. The biggest issue for extreme and resistant TB is compliance to the medication. It is such a long process to be cured of TB. Even with the help of DOT. I wonder if they have tried researching other medications that would be quicker to help cure TB victims.

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