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Free Content Liquid culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis: proceed, but with caution [Unresolved issues]

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Attempts to improve the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in high-burden countries has resulted in significant funding and initiatives to change the method of diagnosis of TB from light microscopy supplemented with X-ray to a sophisticated diagnostic algorithm based on the latest technological innovations. Such activities are overdue and should be welcomed, but the lack of skills and support available to interpret and use the results represents a danger. The introduction of new diagnostic methods, particularly liquid culture, should be carefully structured according to the local situation, failing which frustration and the disruption of previously underdeveloped but adequately functioning laboratories may result.

Keywords: diagnostics; liquid culture; mycobacterium

Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: 1: Royal Tropical Institute, KIT Biomedical Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2: Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague,The Netherlands 3: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands 4: Mycobacterium Reference Laboratory, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, South Australia Pathology, Rundle Mall, South Australia, Australia 5: Forschungszentrum Borstel, National Reference Center for Mycobacteria, Borstel, Germany 6: Mycobacteria Reference Laboratory, RIVM, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • 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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