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SLU researcher aims to eliminate TB with focus on high-risk patients

In a recent paper published in PLOS One, Soumya Chatterjee, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases, allergy and immunology at Saint Louis University, presents data to show that a focus on high-risk tuberculosis patients may be the answer to stalled progress in stamping out the illness in the United States.

"We can achieve elimination of this disease in the U.S., but our numbers are not going down fast enough," Chatterjee said.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that can cause lung damage. People who are infected with TB may have active or latent forms of the illness.

In its active state, TB causes symptoms, such as coughing and weight loss, and is contagious to others. Patients with untreated, active TB typically pass the infection on to others at a rate of 10 to 14 people per year. Those with latent TB do not have symptoms and usually are not contagious, but are at risk of eventually developing an active form of the illness.

The U.S. has low levels of tuberculosis, with only about 2.8 cases for every 100,000 people. In fact, experts believe it is possible to eliminate the illness in this country. However, progress toward this goal has stalled as infection rates, which had been declining steadily, have plateaued in recent years.

While it is not fully clear why progress has slowed, a contributing factor likely has to do with patients who do not complete their full courses of treatment.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that doctors give those with latent TB treatment to kill off the dormant bacteria to prevent an active infection. The treatment is a tablet that is taken daily for six months.

"It can be hard to get people to take the treatment regularly, especially when they are feeling fine," Chatterjee said. "The rates of completing of therapy is only 50 to 60 percent, at best."

To address this problem, Chatterjee wanted to determine which patients were most likely to develop an active form of the infection. Certain patients are at higher risk for progressing to active TB, including older people, those with suppressed immune systems, as from HIV, and immigrants from countries with a high prevalence of TB.

Chatterjee theorized that if doctors could identify latent patients at highest risk of active infection and then focus efforts on helping them complete their treatment, the U.S. could again move toward a goal of eliminating the illness.

"If we can separate out who is at high, moderate and low risk of progressing to active status, we can focus on the high-risk group to help ensure that they complete their course of treatment," Chatterjee said.

In a recent paper published in PLOS One, Soumya Chatterjee, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases, allergy and immunology at Saint Louis University, presents data to show that a focus on high-risk tuberculosis patients may be the answer to stalled progress in stamping out the illness in the United States.

"We can achieve elimination of this disease in the U.S., but our numbers are not going down fast enough," Chatterjee said.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that can cause lung damage. People who are infected with TB may have active or latent forms of the illness.

In its active state, TB causes symptoms, such as coughing and weight loss, and is contagious to others. Patients with untreated, active TB typically pass the infection on to others at a rate of 10 to 14 people per year. Those with latent TB do not have symptoms and usually are not contagious, but are at risk of eventually developing an active form of the illness.

The U.S. has low levels of tuberculosis, with only about 2.8 cases for every 100,000 people. In fact, experts believe it is possible to eliminate the illness in this country. However, progress toward this goal has stalled as infection rates, which had been declining steadily, have plateaued in recent years.

While it is not fully clear why progress has slowed, a contributing factor likely has to do with patients who do not complete their full courses of treatment.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that doctors give those with latent TB treatment to kill off the dormant bacteria to prevent an active infection. The treatment is a tablet that is taken daily for six months.

"It can be hard to get people to take the treatment regularly, especially when they are feeling fine," Chatterjee said. "The rates of completing of therapy is only 50 to 60 percent, at best."

To address this problem, Chatterjee wanted to determine which patients were most likely to develop an active form of the infection. Certain patients are at higher risk for progressing to active TB, including older people, those with suppressed immune systems, as from HIV, and immigrants from countries with a high prevalence of TB.

Chatterjee theorized that if doctors could identify latent patients at highest risk of active infection and then focus efforts on helping them complete their treatment, the U.S. could again move toward a goal of eliminating the illness.

"If we can separate out who is at high, moderate and low risk of progressing to active status, we can focus on the high-risk group to help ensure that they complete their course of treatment," Chatterjee said.

Source: www.news-medical.net


09:58 - 2018/12/29    /    number : 72264    /    Show Count : 15


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