Challenges to eradicating tuberculosis

Diagnosis, treatment improving, but finding carriers remains a barrier

February 07, 2024

IN THE NEWS: According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 10.6 million people caught tuberculosis (TB) globally in 2022. Among those infections, there were 1.3 million deaths.

journal nature logo with white word nature on black circleTB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a microorganism that spreads when one coughs, sneezes or spits. While testing and treatment for tuberculosis infection have improved, one big problem remains: finding the people who have it and don’t know it.

Dr. Adithya Cattamanchi, a pulmonologist at UCI Health, spoke to the journal Nature about the challenge of eradicating TB.

“There’s a huge gap in the number of TB cases that we know are out there and what we’re actually diagnosing.”

He notes that at least 3 million of the WHO’s estimated 10.6 million infected are undiagnosed. Researchers says that replacing older testing methods with newer diagnostic and screening techniques is paramount to identifying individuals with TB earlier and starting treatment before they can spread the disease.

Cattamanchi is a professor at the UCI School of Medicine. He is a board-certified pulmonologist who specializes in lung disorders and critical care medicine. His clinical focus is on the treatment and management of pulmonary infections as well as common lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

His research focus is on improving the diagnosis and treatment of people with TB with the goal of early diagnosis and immediate treatment. Cattamanchi is the author or co-author of nearly 200 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals.

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