Tuberculosis, A Dangerous Pathogen Caused By Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

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Tuberculosis and its Role in Research
Erica Lin July 7th, 2015
I. Background
Abstract
Tuberculosis, commonly referred to as TB or consumption, is a dangerous pathogen caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis). It is the second-highest cause of death, killing off 1.5 million each year. TB victims are normally infected in the lungs by airborne pathogens and fluids, but other organs can be targeted. There are two types of TB: active, in which victims are infectious and show symptoms, and latent, where victims do not show any signs at all, making TB a silent threat that could manifest in the body without warning.

Epidemiology Tuberculosis is the second-highest cause of death worldwide, and over one and a half million people
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tuberculosis complex (MTBC). When these bacteria enter our body, adverse effects could result in potentially lethal consequences. Tuberculosis is normally an airborne infection, although it can also be transmitted through the bloodstream and tissues. Viral TB culminates when mycobacteria enter the airstream and attack the body, particularly the pulmonary alveoli, invading cells and replicating themselves. Although macrophages attempt to engulf the bacteria and destroy them through phagocytosis in a process called autophagy, the bacteria’s lipid outer coating allow them to survive and eventually utilize the nutrients originally intended for the cell to sustain replication within the host macrophage. If the mycobacteria find their way in through damaged tissue, they can move throughout the body and infect different areas. Inside of the body, phagocytes and T cells in the body will clump together to surround and attack infected macrophages, but this supposedly beneficial bodily response is actually exploited by mycobacteria, who use clumping to block all of the macrophages at once and ultimately avoid host immune response.
TB is usually transmitted through exposure to others with active tuberculosis infections. If the infector has active pulmonary TB and performs any action that expels out salivary or mucous material, that material can transmit the bacteria to others. The bacteria then
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