Tuberculosis patients can reduce transmissability by inhaling interferon through a nebulizer

Sep 15, 2009

A new study published in the September 15, 2009, issue of PLoS ONE found that patients with cavitary pulmonary tuberculosis receiving anti-TB medications supplemented with nebulized interferon-gamma have fewer bacilli in the lungs and less inflammation, thereby reducing the transmissibility of tuberculosis in the early phase of treatment.

Tuberculosis, often called TB, is an infectious disease that usually attacks the lungs and infects one-third of the world's population, resulting in 9.2 million active cases per year. TB is usually spread between family members, close friends and people who work or live together. With estimates that nearly 1 billion people will become newly infected between now and 2020, the World Health Organization has set the goal of halving the prevalence and mortality of the disease by 2015. The study shows that patients who inhale interferon through a nebulizer can reduce their disease's transmissibility during the first few weeks of treatment.

"Our findings create an opportunity to combat TB bacilli in the lungs and reduce inflammation in the early stages of the disease when the tuberculosis is transmissible," says William N. Rom, MD, MPH, the Judith and Sol Bergstein Professor of Medicine and Environmental Medicine, director of the Bellevue Chest Service, and director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Nebulized interferon doesn't replace medications used to fight tuberculosis, but it shortens the time when the disease is spread - which could be critical for control of the spread of the disease."

In the study, researchers recruited 89 eligible patients with active in Cape Town, South Africa, and performed a randomized, controlled clinical trial. One group of the patients took anti-TB medications supplemented with nebulized interferon-gamma over a four-month period, and another took TB mediations alone. Dr. Rom and his colleagues found that those patients that inhaled interferon had a significant decrease in the amount of tubercle bacilli from the sputum smear at four weeks and fewer symptoms of cough, night sweats, fever and wheezing. Scientists also found that this group also had fewer inflammatory cytokines in lung cells recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage after four months.

Source: New York University School of Medicine (news : web)

Explore further: Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Experts say Toronto unprepared for TB

Feb 24, 2008

Health experts warn there could be an outbreak of tuberculosis in Toronto, which reportedly lacks a centralized system of TB clinics.

WHO warns of drug-resistant TB

Sep 06, 2006

The World Health Organization in Switzerland has warned of a new strain of tuberculosis that is rapidly spreading and cannot be treated with current drugs.

Recommended for you

Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

22 hours ago

Britain on Sunday lifted all restrictions at a duck farm in northern England after last month's outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, the same strain seen in recent cases across Europe.

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

Dec 20, 2014

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.