New Way to Attack TB

TB remains a deadly disease and antibiotics used to treat it are losing their effectiveness.

UW Madison chemistry professor Laura Kiessling says the TB bacteria divide and reproduce frequently, finding new ways to outsmart the antibiotics and stay alive.

Kiessling and other researchers have discovered how an enzyme and vitamin work together to build a multi-layered cell wall around the bacteria.

The discovery will allow drug manufacturers to design medicine that inhibits that chemical partnership.

The research appeared in the online edition of the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

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What is Tuberculosis?

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease, caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. Like the common cold, it spreads through the air.

  • The symptoms of TB include a bad cough that lasts longer than two weeks, chest pain, and coughing up blood or phlegm from deep within the lungs.

  • Other symptoms of TB include; weakness or fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, chills, fever and night sweats.

How is TB Spread?

  • TB is spread through the air from one person to another, and if the bacteria are inhaled those people may become infected.

  • When a person breathes in the TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine and brain.

  • People with TB are more likely to spread it to people they spend time with everyday. This includes family members, friends, and co-workers.

How You Can Get Tested

  • A TB skin test is the only way to find out if you have TB infection. You can get a skin test at the health department or at your doctor's office.

  • A health care worker can give you the TB skin test. They will inject a small amount of testing fluid just under the skin on the lower part of your arm. After two or three days, the health care worker will measure your reaction to the test.

  • You should get tested for TB if you; have spent time with a person with infectious TB, have the HIV infection or another condition that puts you high at risk for TB disease, are from a country where TB disease is very common, or if you inject drugs.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ ( Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site)


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