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Hi, I have read somewhere that tuberculosis is one of the most dangerous infections in the world and that it kills more people than any other disease. The article also said that the identification and diagnosis of tuberculosis are very hard because the symptoms resemble many other pulmonary conditions and that the only sure diagnosis can be made with sputum. I am wondering how tuberculosis sputum is used for tuberculosis identification. Is this type of sputum different than the ones in other pulmonary infections?

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Hi, what you have read is right. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the deadliest bacteria on the face of the planet. The main reason for this is that it is very resistant to antibiotics. Also the bacterium is airborne and highly contagious. The identification process takes up to six weeks during which time the antibiotics that are used are too weak to control the infection. The best method of identification is the cultivation from the sputum. The sputum is collected three times in three days, usually in the morning. This sputum differs from the sputum in another infection only by the content of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The sample is first inspected under the microscope for the sign of characteristic acid-fast bacilli of the tuberculosis bacteria. Then the sputum is smeared on the growth medium where the bacteria will grow. It takes four to six weeks for the colonies to be visible and for the diagnosis of tuberculosis to be confirmed. You can see that the tuberculosis sputum is very important in the treatment of tuberculosis.
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