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Why is tuberculosis so hard to treat?

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´╗┐Why is tuberculosis so hard to treat? Tuberculosis is caused by an airborne bacterium, mycobacterium tuberculosis. Coughs, sneezes, and even speaking can spread the disease quickly from an infected person to another person, especially in areas of social depression and overcrowding. Currently about one-third of the world?s population is infected with TB and it causes about three million deaths each year. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a rod-shaped bacterium that is referred to as invasive because it enters and spreads through tissues, most commonly those of the lungs. An infection may result in an immediate disease, disease later in life or no disease at all. The reason for the different outcomes is unclear, but it appears to depend on the state of a person?s immunity. TB is an opportunistic infection, striking people with a depressed immunity. A patient has small rounded lesions called tubercles, and suffers weight loss and muscle wasting. Before antibiotics were introduced, TB was a major health problem in England. ...read more.


The symptoms of pulmonary TB include a persistent cough that brings up thick phlegm, which may be bloody. A mild breathlessness to begin with then gradually gets worse; weight loss; lack of appetite. A sense of feeling unwell; extreme tiredness. In some cases, a TB infection can spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. TB infections that occur outside the lungs are known as extra pulmonary TB. This is more common in people with weakened immune systems. A TB infection can spread to; lymph nodes that are near the lungs, bones and joints, the digestive system, the bladder and reproductive system, the nervous system. When a person is infected with TB different things can happen; their immune system kills the bacteria and they have no further symptoms. This happens in most cases. Or their immune system can?t kill the bacteria, but manages to build a defensive barrier around the infection. ...read more.


This is because forgetting to take medication, can lead to the life-threatening condition of multidrug-resistant TB. Treat MDR-TB requires long hospital stays and high doses of antibiotics. Treatment for latent TB infection is usually a single antibiotic for nice months. The goal of this treatment is to eliminate the bacteria from your body. A long treatment is required because antibiotics work only when the bacteria are actively dividing, and the bacteria that cause TB can rest without growing for long periods. This treatment is necessary to keep the latent TB infection form developing into active disease. Like most bacteria, mycobacterium tuberculosis can develop a resistance to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance means that the medicines can no longer kill the bacteria they are meant to fight. Tuberculosis that develops a resistance to one type of antibiotic is not usually a concern because alternative antibiotics are available. However in an increasing number of cases, TB develops a resistance to two antibiotics, this is known as extensive multi-drug resistance tuberculosis. TB also develops a resistance to three or more antibiotics; this is known as extensive multi-drug resistance tuberculosis. ...read more.

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