Tuberculosis Patient Treated in Denver
Treatment May Take Months; Patient Asks Forgiveness From His Fellow Fliers
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Typical Tuberculosis Treatment
Today, doctors treat most people with TB outside the hospital. Gone are the
days of going to the mountains for long periods of bed rest. Speaker is being
treated in the hospital due to his rare and treatment-resistant strain of
Doctors seldom use surgery. But when the bacteria are resistant to standard
treatment, surgery is sometimes necessary to remove a pocket of bacteria in the
lungs or in another part of the body.
Typically, tuberculosis treatment involves taking several special
antibiotics for six to nine months. Treatment takes that long because the
bacteria grow very slowly and, unfortunately, also die very slowly. Doctors use
multiple drugs to reduce the likelihood of resistant bacteria emerging. Often
the drugs will be changed or chosen based on laboratory results showing which
antibiotics are most effective against the TB bacteria.
The most common cause of tuberculosis treatment failure is people's failure
to take the medication as prescribed. This may lead to the development of
drug-resistant organisms. Patients must take their medications as directed,
even if they’re feeling better.
If doctors doubt that a patient is taking the medicine properly, they may
have the patient come to the office for doses - called directly observed
Due to the fact that tuberculosis can be highly contagious, particularly if
the patient has symptoms, such as a cough and fever, doctors or public health
officials usually contact or trace the patient’s relatives and friends.
Relatives and friends may need to undergo appropriate skin tests and chest
X-rays to determine if they have been exposed to TB.
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