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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.
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NPR

A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
WAMU 88.5

Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

WAMU 88.5

A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.

NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

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