`Resistant` TB infection heralds return to 1930s

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2013, 15:27 PM IST

Washington: TB infection - described as the most successful human pathogen of all time - is set to turn clock back to 1930s, as the disease is developing increasing resistance around the world to the powerful drugs currently used to treat it.

1930s was a time when dedicated sanitaria and invasive surgery were commonly prescribed for people suffering from the disease.

TB, which is usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, often lies inactive with no symptoms, but in some cases, becomes active and predominantly attacks the lungs.

The infection can also affect the bones and nervous system, and if left untreated could be fatal.

"Whatever we may have once optimistically thought, TB remains with death, taxes and political chicanery as being inevitable, unavoidable and deeply unpleasant," write the joint editors, Andy Bush and Ian Pavord.

"It shows every sign of weathering the storm and superb randomised controlled trials, to emerge in ever-increasingly drug-resistant forms, potentially turning the clock back to the 1930s," they said.

"This edition of Thorax, coinciding with world TB day, is themed to recognise the ongoing sinister successes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, unarguably the most successful human pathogen of all time," they added.