Progression of Tuberculosis

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If treatment is established effectively, practically all patients are cured although, in 1-2% of cases, relapses may occur a few months after finishing treatment.

Without treatment, more than half of people with tuberculosis die within 5 years of the onset of symptoms.

In a low proportion of tuberculosis cases, in which bacteriological confirmation has not been obtained or an antibiogram has not been done, there could be a lack of improvement in symptoms despite treatment. A frequent reason for this is bacteria that are resistant to the action of first-line antibiotics. If there is no improvement in symptoms or no reduction in the number of bacteria in the first few weeks after the start of treatment, drug resistance or poor adherence to treatment should be suspected.

Substantiated information by:

Alberto García-Basteiro
Jose Antonio Martinez Martinez

Published: 1 February 2023
Updated: 1 February 2023

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