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New Tuberculosis Test Enables Faster Diagnosis and Accurate Identification of Drug Resistance

Researchers have developed a new molecular test -- known as Xpert MTB/RIF -- that can quickly and accurately diagnose tuberculosis (TB) and show whether an individual carries drug-resistant TB strains. As described in the September 9, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine, a study of more than 1700 people with suspected infection found that the new test successfully identified 98% of all confirmed TB cases and 98% of patients with rifampin-resistant bacteria in less than 2 hours.

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AIDS 2010: Early Antiretroviral Therapy during Tuberculosis Treatment Improves Survival

Starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) 2 weeks rather than 2 months after beginning tuberculosis (TB) treatment led to longer survival for HIV positive people with severe immune deficiency in the CAMELIA study, researchers reported at the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) last week in Vienna. Cambodian patients receiving early ART were more likely to develop immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), but this was generally manageable and starting sooner reduced mortality by more than 30%.


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U.S. Tuberculosis Rate Falls to Record Low, Possibly Due to Improved Testing of Immigrants

The prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) cases on the U.S. fell by more than 10% from 2009 to 2008 -- the greatest single-year decrease ever recorded and the lowest rate since TB surveillance began in 1953, according to the latest data from the CDC's National TB Surveillance System reported in the March 19, 2010 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Starting Antiretroviral Therapy during Tuberculosis

HIV positive people with tuberculosis (TB) who start treatment for both infections at the same time have a lower risk of death than those who initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) only after completing TB treatment, according to a study from South African published in the February 25, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine. While caution is warranted when combining HIV and TB drugs, rates of adverse events in this study were similar in the integrated and sequential therapy arms.

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March 24 is World TB Day -- WHO Report Reveals Record Levels of Multidrug-resistant and Extensively Drug-resistant Tuberculosis

Levels of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) have reached their highest levels to date, and in some parts of the world upwards of 25% of the population is affected, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) released in advance of World TB Day on March 24. In 2008, an estimated 440,000 people worldwide had MDR-TB, one-third of whom died. While there is no official XDR-TB estimate, WHO experts think there may be around 25,000 cases per year, most of them fatal. For more information on World TB Day, see

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