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Free Content Tuberculosis in the 21st century: DOTS and SPOTS [Leading Article]

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Surveys of the global burden of disease have established that formidable health problems loom as the new millennium approaches. In both industrialized and developing countries lung disease is particularly problematic. Tuberculosis provides a concrete example of the ability of existing interventions such as directly observed therapy (DOT) to save millions of lives in the immediate future and the potential for new knowledge and tools to eventually eliminate the disease.

Molecular epidemiology shows the potential of new technology to supplement established approaches in answering questions central to public health. Our knowledge of the complete genomic sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis now has us poised on the brink of a new era. Emerging technologies such as microscopic arrays comprised of thousands of spots of DNA will provide knowledge that will fundamentally alter our approach to disease control.

The synergy of a balanced portfolio incorporating a globalized public health commitment and creative basic research will provide us with the infrastructure and tools needed to eliminate tuberculosis before the close of the 21st century.

Keywords: DNA microarrays; DOTS; disease burden; millennium; modeling; molecular epidemiology; tuberculosis

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Stanford Center for Tuberculosis Research, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA

Publication date: November 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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