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Free Content The WHO/IUATLD diagnostic algorithm for tuberculosis and empiric fluoroquinolone use: potential pitfalls [Unresolved Issues]

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According to the current WHO/IUATLD diagnostic algorithm for tuberculosis, to establish the diagnosis of smear-negative pulmonary disease, patients should first demonstrate no clinical response to a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics. The fluoroquinolones have broad-spectrum activity against respiratory pathogens and are generally considered first-line therapy for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia; they also have bactericidal activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Of note, empiric fluoroquinolone monotherapy has been associated with delays in the initiation of appropriate anti-tuberculosis therapy, and also resistance in M. tuberculosis. Delays in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Resistance to fluoroquinolones in M. tuberculosis could limit the use of this potentially first-line class of anti-tuberculosis agents. The WHO/IUATLD diagnostic criteria for smear-negative tuberculosis should be revised to ensure that fluoroquinolones are not used inappropriately and that the detrimental effects of empiric fluoroquinolone monotherapy in tuberculosis patients are avoided.

Keywords: diagnosis; fluoroquinolones; tuberculosis

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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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