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Medications are growing less effective against TB
08.30.2012The airborne bacterial respiratory illness tuberculosis (TB) is becoming more resistant to drug treatments, according to a study published in the Lancet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that only approximately 3 out of 100,000 Americans were infected with TB in 2011. Nonetheless, individuals who suspect they've been exposed to TB should undergo testing, possibly at an urgent care facility or an immediate care center, if these places are equipped to administer such a test.
For this study, researchers from the CDC surveyed almost 1,300 individuals afflicted with TB in seven nations. The two antibiotics generally used to treat TB were ineffective in nearly half of the participating patients. In regards to "second line" medications - less common TB treatments that aren't as good or have potentially toxic side effects - the researchers found that the TB bacteria in 40 percent of the patients resisted at least one, and 20 percent were unyielding against an injectable second line drug.
The emergence of what scientists call extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) - when a combination of both fluoroquinolones and injectable treatments are ineffective - caused the CDC researchers some alarm, according to a report from the Guardian. Overall, almost 7 percent of the subjects had XDR TB. More than 15 percent of the South Korean TB patients had XDR TB, as did almost 12 percent of the Russians.
"Drug-resistant TB is more difficult and costly to treat, and more often fatal. Internationally, it is particularly worrisome in areas with fewer resources and less access to effective therapies. As more individuals are diagnosed with, and treated for, drug-resistant TB, more resistance to second-line drugs is expected to emerge," said lead Tracy Dalton, as quoted by the news source.
Potentially fatal if untreated, TB can be characterized by uncontrollable coughing that continues for three weeks or more, a loss of appetite, listlessness, weight loss, fever, chest pain, night sweats and coughing up blood, according to the CDC. Notable risk factors enhancing the likelihood of catching TB include having immune system-weakening conditions like HIV, diabetes or a drug or alcohol dependency, and being infected by TB within the past two years. TB has been renamed multiple times during historical periods when the infection was more prevalent. Consumption, Pott's disease, and the White Plague have all been other names for TB.
Categories: Health and Wellness
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