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Disease Area Diagnostics & prognostics, Infectious diseases

Dark Fields and Diagnostic Disks

Tuberculosis (TB) is the eighth most common cause of death in low- and middle-income countries (1) and a challenging disease on many levels. To begin with, it’s difficult to diagnose – symptoms like fever, weight loss and coughing apply to a wide range of illnesses, and many tests are inconclusive or subject to a high percentage of false positive and negative results, especially in patients with additional health problems. To reach a conclusion, doctors require a medical history, a physical examination, and a variety of tests, including skin tests, chest X-rays, sputum smears and microbiological cultures. Even after diagnosis, the battle isn’t over; treatment is long, arduous, and side effects are common – and antibiotic resistance compounds these problems. But the longer patients go undiagnosed, the worse the odds of survival become – and it is more likely that they will spread the disease to others.

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About the Author

Michael Schubert

While obtaining degrees in biology from the University of Alberta and biochemistry from Penn State College of Medicine, I worked as a freelance science and medical writer. I was able to hone my skills in research, presentation and scientific writing by assembling grants and journal articles, speaking at international conferences, and consulting on topics ranging from medical education to comic book science. As much as I’ve enjoyed designing new bacteria and plausible superheroes, though, I’m more pleased than ever to be at Texere, using my writing and editing skills to create great content for a professional audience.

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