Sunday, December 7, 2008

Safe at last?

So it seems that as medical advances are made daily by researchers sitting in labs, the evolution of bacteria continues. Diseases seen some 100 years ago begin to emerge once more. Often vaccines or drugs are made in order to block and hopefully destroy the harmful bacteria. But like humans, bacteria are able to see the obstacles put before them, and skillfully hurdle these barriers. Medical researchers are frantically attempting to put up more walls, as bacteria born diseases begin to arrive once more. One such disease that is beginning to come back from the dead is tuberculosis. Many may not have even heard of the disease, but statistics report that 1 in 3 people in the world have, or have had, a dormant or active form of tuberculosis.

Complacent attitude toward this disease has slowly allowed it to evolve, and advance. Doctors do not see the risk in such a disease returning. The dormant germs in a hosts body can be activated at any time, with age playing a major role. Once TB is active, doctors inject attack the patient with their first line of offence, anti-TB drugs (grenades). But the bacteria have defenses of their own, and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) can emerge. This new bug is a result of mismanaged drugs, or misuse of the anti-TB drugs. The war doesn't stop there though; doctors strike again with 2nd line anti-TB drugs, which are more expensive and harder to make (sorta like ICBMs). But once again, MDR-TB is sometimes able to defend itself and evolve into extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB). XDR-TB is emerging fast today, and the general population is not told about such a thing. The disease is easily spread in close quarters such as buses or elevators. This is a very dangerous disease, and should not be so easily disregarded.

So are we ever really safe from the plethora of disease that may rise from the dead?

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