Tuberculosis (TB) is primarily an illness of the respiratory system, and is spread by coughing and sneezing. TB is a contagious disease. Like the common cold, it spreads through the air. Only people with TB in their lungs are infectious. When infectious people cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs, known as bacilli, into the air. A person needs only to inhale a small number of these to be infected.
Left untreated, each person with active TB will infect on average between 10 and 15 people every year. However, people infected with TB bacilli will not necessarily become sick with the disease. The immune system "walls off" the TB bacilli which, protected by a thick waxy coat, can lie dormant for years. When someone's immune system is weakened, the chances of becoming sick are greater.
Each year about 1.6 million people die from this curable disease.
BD is committed to responding to the needs of those affected by TB. BD developed an improved TB culture method, the Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (BD MGIT™) system, which can provide diagnostic results much sooner than traditional culture methods. (Traditional culture methods take as long as 40-50 days to yield a result.) Rapid culture and drug susceptibility testing is more important than ever in the face of increasing multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and even extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB), which is virtually untreatable.
BD entered into an agreement with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) to improve diagnosis of TB, especially in HIV-positive patients. This collaboration established demonstration sites in Africa, Eastern Europe, Brazil and Asia to introduce advanced culture technology at the district hospital level.
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