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Tubercle. 1990 Jun;71(2):77-86.

An investigation of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in Kuwait in preparation for studies of immunotherapy with Mycobacterium vaccae.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat.


Sixty-five patients, many of them immigrant to Kuwait, with bacteriologically proven, adult type, pulmonary tuberculosis were studied by many parameters over the 4 months following diagnosis. Twelve were infected with tubercle bacilli resistant to at least one anti-tuberculosis drug. Preliminary evidence suggested that this was frequently primary resistance in patients infected in their countries of origin. The Kuwaiti environment results in very high skin test and lymphocyte proliferative responses (LTT) to shared and species specific antigens of mycobacteria in healthy persons. In comparison, patients with tuberculosis lacked cellular responses to group i and group ii antigens, but had increased IgG and IgA binding to mycobacterial antigens in general. LTT responses to added interleukin 2, and production of alpha interferon, were normal in our patients, but induction of gamma interferon in response to phytohaemagglutinin was reduced initially, rising towards normal during treatment. Biochemical and haematological abnormalities present at the time of diagnosis rapidly corrected. The disease differed from that reported in most previous studies in that fever was uncommon, the disease was never fatal, and most tuberculin tests were not necrotising. This implied that a detrimental immunopathological component is less pronounced in those exposed to the Kuwaiti environment, and a hypothesis is put forward to explain this.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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