Pathophysiology: The bacteria that cause TB can develop resistance to the antimicrobial drugs used to cure the disease. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is TB that does not respond to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat MDR-TB. Treatment options are limited and expensive, recommended medicines are not always available, and patients experience many adverse effects from the drugs. In some cases even more severe drug-resistant TB may develop.
Statistics: TB is the world's leading cause of death from a single infectious organism, killing 2 million people each year. The TB crisis has intensified because multidrug-resistant (MDR) microbes have emerged. An incurable form of the disease may develop from infections caused by these organisms. 5,532 deaths in Brazil 2000 (Regional Core Health Data Initiative, Pan American Health Organisation, 2003).
Treatment: Treatment of tuberculosis starts with prevention. In countries where tuberculosis is common, vaccination with the BCG vaccine is often recommended. The BCG vaccine is not commonly used in the U.S. Preventing the spread of tuberculosis and other contagious diseases also includes covering the mouth and nose with an elbow or a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Treatment of tuberculosis also includes ensuring good nutrition and extra rest.
Major Research: The study of host-pathogen interactions with the aim to identify host and bacterial factors playing a role in infection, development of the disease or protection. Biomarkers resulting from these studies might provide information on the immune status of infected or vaccinated individuals and allow identifying persons that are either protected against the TB disease or at risk to develop the disease after infection.