MHF TOP PICKS FOR APRIL
Every month, we at the Mueller Health Foundation like to showcase interesting news and updates in the field of tuberculosis. Below are our top 3 picks for April:
- Study Finds that One Immune Cell Directs Another to Aid Tuberculosis Control
A new study in mice and non-human primates (NHP) by scientists at the University of Chicago (UChicago), and Washington University in St. Louis, has now shown how B cells in the lung granulomas, that are characteristic of tuberculosis, direct a population of T cells to help control the infection. As the lead scientist and her team narrowed down the potential functions of the B cells, they found that the helper T cells express transcription factors that in turn generate T-cell subtypes, including T follicular helper (TFH)-like cells that localize within the granuloma tissue. They discovered that it is these TFH-like cells that activate macrophages to keep the TB infection in check by surrounding and killing infected cells, but that it is the B cells that tell them where to go and localize within the granulomas. In effect, rather than directly controlling TB themselves, the B cells are pointing the TFH-like cells in the right direction to do the job. The findings could potentially help in the future development of a vaccine against TB that triggers the right kind of immune response to stop the infection from taking hold. To learn more about the research, you can access the full paper at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41590-023-01476-3
- Systematic Review of Prevalence and Types of Anemia among People with Tuberculosis in Africa
Anemia is frequently manifested among people with TB in Africa, with prevalence ranging from 25% to 99%. The presence of anemia is associated with an increase in an individuals’ susceptibility to TB and poor treatment outcomes.
DID YOU KNOW?
TB disease in children under 15 years of age (also called pediatric tuberculosis) is a public health problem of special significance because it is a marker for recent transmission of TB. Furthermore, infants and young children are more likely than older children and adults to develop life-threatening forms of TB disease, such as disseminated TB and TB meningitis. Among children, the greatest numbers of TB cases are seen in children younger than 5 years of age, and in adolescents older than 10 years of age. Below is a brief overview of data related to pediatric tuberculosis in the United States:
- In 2021, U.S. state, local, and territorial health agencies reported a total of 7,882 TB cases to the CDC. Of those cases, there were 317 cases of TB disease among children ages 14 years or younger in the United States.
- Overall, in 2021, 4% of U.S. TB cases occurred among children less than 15 years of age.
- Approximately 20% of children with TB are born outside the US, with about 43% being of Hispanic origins and 20% are Asian.
- Children over 2 years of age can be treated for latent TB infection with once-weekly isoniazid-rifapentine for 12 weeks. Alternative treatments for latent TB infection in children include 4 months of daily rifampin or 9 months of daily isoniazid.
- TB disease in children is treated by taking several anti-TB medicines for 4, 6, or 9 months, depending on the treatment regimen.