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Tubriculsis - Essay Example

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Subject: Health Sciences and Medicine Topic: Tuberculosis Date: 19th November 2012 Background Tuberculosis (TB) is an ancient scourge which has claimed human life throughout history (Daniel, 2006). The infectious disease has been a major public health problem especially in the developing world, killing millions of people annually…
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Download file to see previous pages The highly virulent bacterium occurs in two forms, an active and a latent form. It has been reported that about a third of the current TB infections are in the latent form (Smith et al., 2003). The latent form of TB is characterized by presence of an infection without victims exhibiting active disease. People with the latent form of this disease usually are at a risk of reactivation especially if their immune system is compromised, such as in HIV/AIDS. In this form, the bacteria exist in the lungs in granulomas. Active TB occurs in several stages, starting from infection to tubercle formation. Active TB can develop in lungs (pulmonary), or it can be extrapulmonary. The most common sign and symptom of the active disease is cough. M. tuberculosis The causative agents of TB are bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium. Several species of this genus are known to cause TB. They are Mycobaterium tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. africanum, M. microti. M. tuberculosis is pathogenic to humans while M. bovis is pathogenic infects animals. Measuring 2-4 ?m in length and 0.2-0.5 ?m in width, these obligate aerobes are non-motile and non-sporulated rods. Mycobacterium is neither Gram negative nor Gram positive. They have the highest lipid content in their walls amongst all bacteria; serving as a carbon and energy reserve. In fact these lipids constitute more than half their dry weight. These lipids give the bacterium a waxy coat which makes them acid-fast, extremely hydrophobic, resistance to antibiotics and protected against the immune system of the host. It appears that the cell wall of these organisms play an important role in the virulence of the disease. The cell wall has three components; mycolic acid, cord factor, and wax-D. Constituting about 50% of the envelope lipid, mycolic acid plays an important role in the virulence and protects the bacterium from free oxygen radicals, lysozyme of the host, cationic proteins, and the complement system aided destruction by the host immune system. Cord factor gives the organism its characteristic serpentine chord like formation and is highly toxic to human cells. Wax-D in the cell envelope is the major component of Freund's complete adjuvant (Schlossberg, 2012). Pathogenesis and Transmission M. tuberculosis gains entry into the body via the alveolar after exposure from aerosol droplet. The virulence of this pathogen is attributed to several structural and physiological properties since they do not produce any toxins. Some general properties that make these organisms highly virulent are listed below: Ability of the pathogens to grow intracellular, rendering them protection against the antibodies, complement system, and lysozyme of the host The ability to bind directly to mannose receptors on the macrophages Ability to detoxify free oxygen radicals produced during their phagocytosis The slow generation time giving them the opportunity to evade immune system The high lipid content in their cell walls protecting them from antibiotics, acids, alkalis, or lytic enzymes (Todar, n.d). The pathogenesis of TB is rather complex and occurs in several stages. TB does not spread by shaking hands, touching, kissing, or sharing foods, drinks, tooth brush etc. The route of entry of the pathogen is through inhalation of small size respiratory droplet nuclei. Upon entry into the respiratory tract, the nuclei pass into the lower ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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