Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

‘Virtually Untreatable’ Tuberculosis Poses Global Threat

Posted by feww on March 25, 2013

TB already kills 1.4 million people, 16 pct of sick cases each year

A rise in “virtually untreatable” tuberculosis poses a global threat, according to an international group of doctors and researchers, and plans to deal with the deadly disease are failing.

The cases of  drug resistance TB are exponentially rising, while many first-choice antibiotics are no longer effective against several strains of the TB bacterium.

M. tuberculosis-CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Under a high magnification of 15549x, this colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted some of the ultrastructural details seen in the cell wall configuration of a number of Gram-positive Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. As an obligate aerobic organism M. tuberculosis can only survive in an environment containing oxygen. This bacterium ranges in length between 2 – 4 microns, and a width between 0.2 – 0.5 microns. TB bacteria become active, and begin to multiply, if the immune system can’t stop them from growing. The bacteria attack the body and destroy tissue. If in the lungs, the bacteria can actually create a hole in the lung tissue. Some people develop active TB disease soon after becoming infected, before their immune system can fight off the bacteria. Other people may get sick later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason.Babies and young children often have weak immune systems. People infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, have very weak immune systems. Other people can have weak immune systems, too, especially people with any of these conditions: substance abuse; diabetes mellitus; silicosis; cancer of the head or neck; leukemia or Hodgkin’s disease; severe kidney disease; low body weight; certain medical treatments (such as corticosteroid treatment or organ transplants); specialized treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn’s disease. Source: CDC/ Dr. Ray Butler

In parts of central Asia and eastern Europe about a third of all TB cases are multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB). Globally, MDR-TB cases skyrocketed from 12,000 in 2005 to as many as 300,000 in 2011.  Now an even more aggressive strain of TB, called extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, which is resistant to even more types of antibiotics has been detected across 84 countries, according to a report published in Lancet Medical Journal.

Tuberculosis bacteria, SEM
Tuberculosis bacteria.  Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, the main cause of human tuberculosis. These are Gram-positive rod-shaped bacteria. If a bacterium enters the lungs in a droplet coughed or sneezed by an infected person, it multiplies to form a localized bacterial colony (primary tubercle). Normally the tubercle is destroyed by the immune system. In a few cases, however, the bacteria then either spread through the lymphatic system to other parts of the body, which can be fatal, or lie dormant, only becoming active again many years later. Treatment is with antibiotics. Magnification unknown. Source: Lancet Medical Journal.

Mycobacterium fortuitum bacteria
Under a magnification of 3841X, this scanning electron micrograph SEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphologic details exhibited by a number of Gram-positive bacilli, or “rod-shaped”, Mycobacterium fortuitum bacteria. M. fortuitum is classified as a “rapidly-growing” Mycobacterium, due to the fact that it can be grown on laboratory culture medium in less than 7 days. As a human pathogen, this organism has been determined to be the cause of skin infections, including furunculosis, i.e., boils, on the legs of people receiving pedicures in nail salons. With drinking water as their source, in a 72 hour period, these organisms created a biofilm upon a submerged polycarbonate surface, from which they were subsequently harvested. As a nontuberculous bacterium (NTB), M. fortuitum is a member of the same genus as its cousin Mycobacterium tuberculosis, however, it is classified outside the M. tuberculosis complex. Credit: CDC/ Margaret M. Williams; Janice Haney Carr

TB Symptoms (CDC)

Symptoms of TB disease include:

  • Bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • Pain in the chest
  • Coughing up blood or sputum
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • No appetite
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Sweating at night

Latent TB Infection and TB Disease

Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease. Latent TB Infection TB bacteria can live in the body without making you sick. This is called latent TB infection. In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. People with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread TB bacteria to others. However, if TB bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will go from having latent TB infection to being sick with TB disease. Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.  If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

How TB Spreads

TB is spread through the air from one person to another.  The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings.  People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

The danger posed by growing resistance to antibiotics is ‘as big a risk as terrorism,’ the UK medical chief, Professor Sally Davies has warned, describing the threat as a “ticking time bomb.” See video.

‘Superbug Humor’

superbug humor
‘Superbug Humor: First, the Good News!’ Submitted by a reader.

TB and other Superbug Related Links

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DISASTER CALENDARMarch 25, 2013  
SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN:
1,083 Days Left 

Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.

  • SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,083 Days Left to ‘Worst Day’ in the brief Human  History
  • The countdown began on May 15, 2011 …

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