What It Takes To Cure Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

What It Takes To Cure Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

We recently chatted with Dr. Mel Spigelman, the president of TB Alliance, and he answered five common questions about tuberculosis. We edited his responses for space and clarity.

  1. How contagious is TB? Can you get it by being near someone when they sneeze? Probably not. TB requires relatively close contact for transmission. You really need to be around somebody for a good amount of time. That's why it spreads in families.
  2. An estimated one-third of the world has TB. How could that be? Not everybody who is infected with the TB bacteria gets sick. In many cases, the body walls off the microbes, usually in the lungs, and you never know they're there, kind of like the bacteria in your mouth or nose.
  3. Does the TB bacteria always break out of this friendly relationship and make you sick? A person has about a 10 percent chance during their lifetime for a latent TB infection to become an active one and cause problems. That risk increases if your immune system is compromised.
  4. If you test positive for TB with a skin test, do you always need treatment, even when you're not sick? Yes. In the U.S., people with latent TB infections traditionally take two antibiotics for six to nine months.
  5. What's the difference between regular TB and drug-resistant versions in terms of treatment? Regular TB takes about six to nine months to cure, with four antibiotics daily. Drug-resistant TB takes about two years to cure, and the treatment is much rougher. The drugs are more toxic, and only about 50 percent of people recover. That rate may be a little higher in the U.S.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Kids' Films And Stories Share A Dark Theme: Dead Mothers

Why do so many animated movies star motherless kids? Sarah Boxer, a graphic novelist, cartoon-lover and mother, talks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about the phenomenon and the message it sends to children.
NPR

Food-Mood Connection: How You Eat Can Amp Up Or Tamp Down Stress

We tend to soothe ourselves with sugar-laden foods when we're feeling strained. But they may make us feel even worse. Protein and omega-3s, on the other hand, can help reduce stress, researchers say.
NPR

What Will Become Of Obama's Request For Immigration Relief Funds?

NPR's Arun Rath talks to political correspondent Mara Liasson about the chances of a political agreement over how to handle the migration of thousands of Central American children.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.