Immunology

Immune system targets vitamin B12 pathway to neutralize bacteria

Close to 1.8 billion people worldwide are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the common and occasionally deadly bacterium that causes millions of cases of tuberculosis each year. The bacteria, having coevolved ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Expert warning: Resistance to antibiotics to be apocalyptic

(Medical Xpress)—The chief medical officer for Britain's Department of Health has issued a warning that resistance to bacteria is a more urgent threat to humanity than global warming, with bacteria becoming resistant to ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Urine test developed to test for tuberculosis

(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has developed a urine test that can be used to detect tuberculosis (TB) in human patients. In their paper published in Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

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.

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

Ancient Chinese malaria remedy artemisinin fights tuberculosis

A centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists and used to effectively treat malaria, has been found to potentially aid in the treatment of tuberculosis and may slow the evolution of drug resistance.

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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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