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TB bacteria stays in body for years: Study

Snehal Rebello, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 31, 2013
First Published: 01:07 IST(31/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:09 IST(31/1/2013)

It is difficult to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) even after a yearlong antibiotic treatment and the disease could recur as the TB bacillus hide inside a specific stem cell in the bone marrow that is resistant to drugs.


These are findings of a new study by an international team of scientists led by an Indian from Stanford University School of Medicine. The team conducted clinical study on the Idu-Mishmi community in Arunachal Pradesh.

“The core problem of why TB remains a global epidemic is the ability of this bacteria to persist for years in the human body,” Dr Bikul Das, lead researcher, told HT.

“With the ability of this stem cell to migrate to organs such as the lungs, where the bacteria thrive, the chances of TB recurring are high. The results will pave way for new TB drugs.”

There were 30,814 cases of TB in Mumbai last year with around 4,000 being re-treatment ones.

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