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Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Oct 1;33(7):1034-9. Epub 2001 Aug 22.

Tuberculosis and aging: a global health problem.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Martin Luther King, Jr./Drew Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90059, USA.


Despite the World Health Organization's declaration that the spread of tuberculosis is a global emergency and despite the implementation of strong tuberculosis-control initiatives, this highly infectious disease continues to affect all vulnerable populations, including the elderly population (age > or =65 years). Tuberculosis in aging adults remains a clinical and epidemiological challenge. Atypical clinical manifestations of tuberculosis in older persons can result in delay in diagnosis and initiation of treatment; thus, unfortunately, higher rates of morbidity and mortality from this treatable infection can occur. Underlying illnesses, age-related diminution in immune function, the increased frequency of adverse drug reactions, and institutionalization can complicate the overall clinical approach to tuberculosis in elderly patients; maintenance of a high index of suspicion for tuberculosis in this vulnerable population is, thus, undoubtedly justifiable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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