TB infection could return to former prevalence

The ever-increasing drug-resistance of tuberculosis could result in a turning back of the clock to a time when the disease ran rampant throughout the developed world, according to the editors of Thorax.

Thorax editors Andy Bush and Ian Pavord made the comments in an issue dedicated to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, one of the most successful pathogens in all of human history, Science Daily reports.

"Whatever we may have once optimistically thought, TB remains with death, taxes and political chicanery as being inevitable, unavoidable and deeply unpleasant," Bush and Pavord said, according to Science Daily. "It shows every sign of weathering the storm and superb randomized controlled trials, to emerge in ever-increasingly drug-resistant forms, potentially turning the clock back to the 1930s."

TB often lies dormant with no symptoms but can become active and attack the lungs, bones and nervous system. The infection is becoming more resistant to the powerful antibiotics used to treat the disease.

"This edition of Thorax, coinciding with world TB day, is themed to recognize the ongoing sinister successes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, unarguably the most successful human pathogen of all time," Bush and Pavord said, according to Science Daily.

The issue contains international research papers that look at various aspects of the disease, from the impact of ethnicity on the pattern of the disease to the risk of TB after seroconversion, in addition to HIV infection, Science Daily reports.