Rise of Tb Essay

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Why is TB on the rise? In the United States, cases of tuberculosis began declining steadily in the 1940s and 1950s mainly because of antibiotic therapy and improved public health programs. Yet the disease is still a serious health problem. Millions of Americans are infected with TB without having symptoms, and some of them will go on to develop active TB. The situation in other countries is far worse. Overall, about one-third of the world's population is infected with tuberculosis. New infections and deaths from the disease are increasing. Hardest hit are sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. A number of factors have contributed to the global TB crisis, but the leading cause is the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Tuberculosis and HIV have a deadly relationship - each fuels the progress of the other. Infection with HIV suppresses the immune system, making it difficult for the body to control TB bacteria. As a result, people with HIV are many times more likely to progress from dormant to active disease than are people who aren't HIV-positive. TB is one of the leading causes of death among people living with AIDS - not only because they're more susceptible to TB, but also because TB can increase the rate at which the AIDS virus replicates. One of the first indications of HIV infection may be the sudden onset of TB - often in a site outside the lungs (extrapulmonary TB). Other factors contributing to the spread of TB in the United States and elsewhere include: • Crowded living conditions. TB spreads most easily in cramped, crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. Incidence rates in prisons, juvenile detention centers and homeless shelters are higher than that in the general population. TB bacteria also can flourish in nursing homes because older adults often have immune systems weakened by illness or aging. • Increased numbers of foreign-born nationals.

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