Medications

Researchers develop new tuberculosis treatment

Led by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), a team of researchers has developed a new treatment for tuberculosis (TB). This work could offer a practical treatment that has the potential to be scaled-up ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

North Korea running low on TB meds, experts fear epidemic

The withdrawal of a major international aid organization threatens to leave tens of thousands of tuberculosis patients in North Korea without the medication they need and could spiral into a severe crisis if it is not addressed ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Lymph nodes are niches for prolonged tuberculosis infection

Lymph nodes can contain large numbers of tuberculosis-causing bacteria and serve as long-term reservoirs of bacterial persistence, according to a study published November 1 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by JoAnne ...

Diabetes

Millions with high blood sugar face TB risk

Millions of people with high blood sugar may be at greater risk of tuberculosis than previously thought, scientists said Friday, warning that diabetes and TB could combine to create the "perfect storm" of disease.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New weapons drawn in global TB fight

From a revolutionary way of testing children for tuberculosis to a cure for a previously untreatable strain, scientists from across the globe launched a fresh broadside Thursday against the world's deadliest infectious disease.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

'Game changer' tuberculosis drug cures 9 in 10

A new treatment for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis can cure more than 90 percent of sufferers, according to a trial hailed Monday as a "game changer" in the fight against the global killer.

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Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (abbreviated as TB for tubercle bacillus or Tuberculosis) is a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria, in humans mainly Mycobacterium tuberculosis . Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs (as pulmonary TB) but can also affect the central nervous system, the lymphatic system, the circulatory system, the genitourinary system, the gastrointestinal system, bones, joints, and even the skin. Other mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium africanum, Mycobacterium canetti, and Mycobacterium microti also cause tuberculosis, but these species are less common in humans.

The classic symptoms of tuberculosis are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. Infection of other organs causes a wide range of symptoms. The diagnosis relies on radiology (commonly chest X-rays), a tuberculin skin test, blood tests, as well as microscopic examination and microbiological culture of bodily fluids. Tuberculosis treatment is difficult and requires long courses of multiple antibiotics. Contacts are also screened and treated if necessary. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in (extensively) multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. Prevention relies on screening programs and vaccination, usually with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG vaccine).

Tuberculosis is spread through the air, when people who have the disease cough, sneeze, or spit. One–third of the world's current population has been infected with M. tuberculosis, and new infections occur at a rate of one per second. However, most of these cases will not develop the full-blown disease; asymptomatic, latent infection is most common. About one in ten of these latent infections will eventually progress to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills more than half of its victims. The proportion of people in the general population who become sick with tuberculosis each year is stable or falling worldwide but, because of population growth, the absolute number of new cases is still increasing. In 2004, mortality and morbidity statistics included 14.6 million chronic active cases, 8.9 million new cases, and 1.6 million deaths, mostly in developing countries. In addition, a rising number of people in the developed world are contracting tuberculosis because their immune systems are compromised by immunosuppressive drugs, substance abuse, or AIDS. The distribution of tuberculosis is not uniform across the globe with about 80% of the population in many Asian and African countries testing positive in tuberculin tests, while only 5-10% of the US population test positive. It is estimated that the US has 25,000 new cases of tuberculosis each year, 40% of which occur in immigrants from countries where tuberculosis is endemic.

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