Problems in diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis infection

Hippokratia 2009, 13(1):20-22

V. Tsara, E. Serasli, P. Christaki


Tuberculosis is still a major health problem in industrialized countries due to specific socioeconomic factors and there is the growing need of new rapid and accurate diagnostic methods, in order to achieve higher sensitivity and specificity compared to traditional methods of microscopic sputum examination and culture. Such methods, recently introduced, are nucleic acid amplification (NAA) tests, used directly on clinical specimens and blood tests (QuantiFERON-TB, T SPOT.TB test), measuring the IFN-? released by stimulated T cells. Furthermore, new drugs for the disease need to be developed, aiming to better treatment results and to prevention of Multiple Drug Resistance (MDR) cases. Critical aspects in the management of drug resistance cases should be the careful choices of drugs combination, the close follow up of the patients alongside with the patients adherence to therapy. The role of national and international tuberculosis programs is invaluable in TB control and therapy, as well as the collaboration of all the health system departments. However, most of the clinical problems that may arise are addressed by the International Standards for Tuberculosis Care- ISTC and these guidelines should be taken into consideration, at least until future research provides more promising diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for control of the disease.