Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a bacteria categorized under mycobacterium genus. It's one of the most common causes of tuberculosis. It was discovered in 1882 by a Prussian physician known as Robert Koch; this led to many scientists referring to the bacterium as Koch's bacillus. It's commonly spread by breathing infected air during close contact between people.
The bacterium becomes airborne when someone with tuberculosis lung infection coughs, or sneezes. Mycobacterium tuberculosis has an uncommon coating of wax on the surface of its cells which are primarily composes of mycolic acid. This makes it impervious to detection methods such as Gram Staining therefore acid fast methods of detecting are currently used. This bacterium requires high levels of oxygen and therefore infects the lungs leading to inflammation.
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Approximately ten percent of the world population has Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Symptoms experienced by infected patients are normally absent until the infection spreads throughout the lungs. It can take months from the time of infection to till symptoms occur. Cough is usually the fist symptom followed by loss of appetite, loss of energy, high fever, difficulty in breathing and loss of weight. In addition, Mycobacterium tuberculosis can spread to other body parts especially if the patient has a weak immune system. If the infection attacks the abdominal cavity it can cause fatigue and pain in the appendicitis; if untreated, the patient can fall into a coma or have brain damage.
Normally, treatment is administered for a period of eight months. During the first two months dosage containing rifampin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide are given to the patient. In the following four months dosage containing ethambuton and streptomycin is administered. However the drug treatment may be altered depending on laboratory results of the patient. Part of the therapy also involves antibiotics to prevent inactive bacterium from becoming active.