Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria - Mycobacterium tuberculosis. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks, TB bacteria are put into the air. Dried sputum (mucus that has been coughed up or spat out) that is scuffed back up into the air can also be a source of contamination. People nearby may then breathe in the bacteria and become infected.
The following are risk factors for contracting tuberculosis (TB): • Close contact with a person with infectious TB disease • Persons who live or have immigrated from areas of the world with high rates of TB, this includes but not exclusively sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-continent, parts of eastern Europe, as well as Indonesia and China • Children less than 5 years of age who have a positive TB test • Groups with high rates of TB transmission, such as homeless persons, injection drug users, and persons with HIV infection • People who work or reside with those who are at high risk for TB in facilities or institutions such as hospitals, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and residential homes for those with HIV
If you have one of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. • a bad cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks • pain in the chest • coughing up blood • fatigue • weight loss • fever • sweating at night
Yes, it is possible to be a carrier for the tuberculosis bacteria without showing any symptoms. The bacteria could then be triggered into becoming more active should the carrier become ill with another illness, or simply later than the first infection time. A TB test would show whether someone is an asymptomatic carrier.
Bacteria becomes drug-resistant over time through natural evolution. The rate at which bacteria becomes resistant to antibacterial drugs increases if those drugs are not used correctly. The biggest culprit is not taking the drug regimen until the end or taking it inconsistently. As the bacteria becomes exposed to other antibacterial drugs in a similar way, it becomes resistant to those also making it multiple drug-resistant. When a bacteria becomes resistant to one or more drugs, it becomes harder or even impossible to treat through medication.
There are many steps a drug must take before it becomes approved as a medical treatment. PBTZ169 is currently in Phase I of the drug trials. For more information about the different steps still to be done, see here.