High-tech imaging could stop TB spread
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High-resolution imaging can detect whether someone has an active tuberculosis infection in the lungs, despite showing no symptoms. This will help glean whether a patient has a “latent” version and therefore the potential to develop the full-blown, contagious disease.
A team led by researchers affiliated with the University of Cape Town combined two sophisticated imaging techniques to detect areas of inflammation in the lungs of 35 South Africans infected with HIV and diagnosed with latent tuberculosis. They identified ten people with abnormal growths in the lungs — a sign of active disease, even if the patients showed no outward symptoms at the time of the scan. The researchers followed these individuals for six months and confirmed that many went on to develop coughs and outward signs with the infectious disease.
The findings, described in Nature Medicine, debunk the conventional wisdom that tuberculosis can be classified into two disease states, latent or active.
- Nature Medicine 22, 1090–1093 (2016). doi: 10.1038/nm.4161