News / Health

New Procedure Could Get More TB Patients Treated

Study experiments with more convenient disease testing schedule

A tuberculosis patient receives free treatment at the Indonesian Union Against Tuberculosis clinic in Jakarta, April 4, 2011.
A tuberculosis patient receives free treatment at the Indonesian Union Against Tuberculosis clinic in Jakarta, April 4, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

An international team of researchers has found that revised protocols for diagnosing tuberculosis may be more user-friendly for patients and help bring more people into treatment, especially in poorer countries.

In many places around the world where tuberculosis is a major threat, suspected cases are diagnosed by looking through a microscope for the TB bacteria in sputum - the mixture of saliva and mucus that the patient coughs up.

Under current protocol, three specimens are collected on two consecutive days - one "on-the-spot" in the clinic, one the next morning at home, and then a third "spot" sample when the patient returns to the clinic.

But many patients don't live near a diagnosis facility, so often they come once, but don't return for the next day's tests.

Luis Cuevas of the World Health Organization and the University of Liverpool in England and colleagues tested a variation of the protocol, taking two "spot" samples in the clinic an hour apart, and a third one the next day.

"And if you use the new scheme, you end up with exactly the same result. Whether you do it one way or another, you end up with the same number of cases."

Not only that, the results from examining just the first two specimens identified most TB-positive patients. So if both specimens are collected on day one, there is a greater likelihood of an accurate diagnosis.

The studies were done in Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, and Yemen.

Researcher Cuevas says it's important to improve the process of diagnosing tuberculosis. "What we see very frequently is that accessing the diagnosis for TB is often a barrier to access treatment for TB. So, facilitating a rapid diagnosis is very key to improve access to treatment."

There are more high-tech diagnostic tests for tuberculosis, but they are as much as 15 times more expensive than microscopic examination of the sputum, so in resource-poor countries the less costly diagnosis procedure is likely to remain dominant.

You May Like

Video Russian Moves Provide New Mission for NATO

Moscow’s aggressive posturing in Europe during past year has pushed alliance to take new steps to strengthen its defenses, seek new purpose More

Gmail Blocked in China

Internet transparency monitor GreatFire.org reports the e-mail service is 84 percent blocked in the country after months of disruptions More

Video Africa Prepares for Challenges, Transformation as Baby Boom Looms

Experts predict a baby boom so massive that by the year 2050, four out of 10 people will be African More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaisei
X
Daniel Schearf
December 25, 2014 4:34 PM
Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video 2014 Saw Intensification of Boko Haram Insurgency

The year 2014 saw Nigerian militant sect Boko Haram intensify its five-year insurgency and target civilians in large numbers as it seized territory in the northeast. The kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in April sparked global outrage, but failed to become the turning point against the sect that Nigeria’s president said it would be. The picture at year's end is one of devastation and uncertainty. VOA’s Anne Look reports.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Fight to Survive Water Crisis

In a region choking from dwindling water supplies, Lebanon has long been regarded as one of the few places where there is enough. But in recent years, half the people in the country have faced severe shortages. And the more than 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are hit the worst by the water crisis, making the country's most vulnerable people increasingly impoverished and sick. Heather Murdock reports for VOA in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid