Two-thirds of Tijuana IV Drug Users Test Positive for TB
A study released Wednesday finds that two-thirds of IV drug users living in Tijuana, Mexico, tested positive for the latent form of tuberculosis, reports KPBS.
The findings, published in the May issue of the International Journal of TB and Lung Disease, underscore "an urgent need for screening for the contagious infection among this at-risk demographic," writes Inthenews.co.uk.
Lead researcher Richard Garfein, associate professor in the Division of Global Public Health and Department of Medicine at UC San Diego said in a press release: "While injection drug users are known to be at risk for TB, this is one of the highest infection rates ever reported among this group" (EurekAlert!, 4/15).
Though latent tuberculosis is not contagious and does not cause people to feel sick, an immune system compromised by HIV/AIDS can cause "TB [to become] active, causing coughing which helps spread the bacteria to others," according to Inthenews.co.uk.
Garfein says that latent TB is treatable, "reduc[ing] the TB reactivation risk by nearly 75%, while cutting the death rate of patients with HIV and TB in half" (Inthenews.co.uk, 4/16).
Gargein said it is critical to make sure that Tijuana does not have a TB outbreak. He said, "And I think that the approaches to infection control, if they're implemented correctly, can really do a lot to prevent that from happening," according to KPBS (Goldberg, KPBS, 4/15).