Carbon monoxide and tuberculosis
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
Scientists are still learning ways in which pollution can set you up for sickness and death. Adrie Steyn at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says carbon monoxide could make tuberculosis more dangerous.
Steyn says the colorless, odorless gas can make the TB germ shift from its active phase to its dormant – or latent – phase. The latent phase is harder to treat. And because it’s also harder to spot, people with latent TB can unknowingly fall through the treatment net.
``People should try to minimize air pollution, especially indoor air pollution, which can generate large quantities of carbon monoxide.’’ (6 seconds)
Carbon monoxide can be made by burning things – cigarettes, for instance. And Steyn says it doesn’t take much in the air or the body to trigger latency and TB reactivation.
The study was in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: May 7, 2011