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Free Content Historical statistics support a hypothesis linking tuberculosis and air pollution caused by coal [Review Article]

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Tuberculosis (TB) is generally considered to be linked to industrialisation and urbanisation. Peaking in the 1800s and receding slowly after, the disease declined sharply in the West after World War II. TB has made a comeback in the last 20 years in developing countries such as China and India. Because socio-economic conditions alone cannot explain the connection between industrialisation and TB, factors remain to be determined in the aetiology of the disease. Historical statistics on coal consumption and TB disease in Canada, USA and China are correlated. A hypothesis linking TB and air pollution is developed in the context of industrialisation. A model is proposed whereby triggering of the interleukin-10 (IL-10) cascade by carbon monoxide in lung macrophages promotes the reactivation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
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Keywords: IL-10; air pollution; carbon monoxide; coal; tuberculosis

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Phoresia Biotechnology Inc., Laval, Qu├ębec, Canada

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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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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