Mycobacterium tuberculosis

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) causes tuberculosis.



Extremely widespread across the globe. According to the WHO, the global incidence of TB in 2005 was 8.81 million cases. TB is most common in Asia and Africa. The WHO estimates that there were 1.6 million deaths due to TB in 2005.

Clinical features


Depends upon the clinical scenario. MTB can be tested in the microbiology laboratory by microscopy (Ziehl-Nielsen staining) and culture, either solid phase, or increasingly in liquid culture systems, which are capable of growing MTB faster, e.g. 2 weeks instead of 6.

It is likely that molecular, PCR-based techniques will play an ever more important role in the diagnosis of TB disease.

Current PCR testing involves confirmation that the AFB seen in a sample is MTB/MTB complex and that there is no mutation in the RPOB gene, which would indicate Rifampicin resistance.


In the UK standard treatment is with quadruple therapy:


The TB vaccine is called Bacille (or bacilus) Calmette-Guerin (BCG). It has limited efficacy - range 0-80%.



This article is a work in progress. Please feel free to contribute to it.

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