October 2005, Volume 35 Number 10 , p 24 - 25
SHEFF, BARBARA RN, CPH, HNC, MT(ASCP), MA; HAYES, DENISE D. RN, CRNP, MSN
MEDICATIONS HAVE BEEN available to cure tuberculosis (TB) for over 60 years, yet more people die from TB worldwide than from any other curable disease. In the United States, new cases have steadily declined by a modest 3% since 1993, but this isn't good enough. Because of air travel, immigration, and growing threats from HIV/AIDS and from multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), TB remains a significant public health problem.
A disproportionate number of patients with TB are black, Hispanic, and newly arrived immigrants. People living in overcrowded housing with poor sanitation are particularly vulnerable to developing pulmonary TB, the most common type. (Other types of TB infection are beyond the scope of this article.) Coinfection with HIV/AIDS, which weakens the immune system, lets latent TB become active and cause overwhelming disease.
Curative drug therapy is prolonged and complex. Administering ...