Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease spread from person to person through the air. It usually affects the lungs, but the kidneys, spine and/or brain can also be infected. People with a weakened immune system from conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at highest risk for contracting TB, but anyone can be infected and become ill. Treatment with new biologic drugs for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions is a growing cause of TB reactivation.
Nontuberculous mycobacterial disease (NTM), a general term for a group of lung infections caused by exposure to mycobacteria found in the environment, is not contagious from person to person. Although most environmental mycobacteria are not pathogenic, NTM are on the rise as a cause of chronic lung infection and can be disabling or even fatal. The treatment of nontuberculous mycobacteria is often long and challenging because of side effects, and a cure is not always possible.
TB care is coordinated with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which subsidizes all laboratory testing and drugs. Our expert medical and surgical team receives referrals of the most complex TB cases: from patients with latent TB infection and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) to those with serious complications. For rare patients who require surgery, our thoracic surgeons specialize in a variety of interventions including video assisted thoracic surgery, thoracotomy, lobectomy and segmentectomy.
Researchers at the Division of Global Health Equity (chaired by Paul Farmer, MD, PhD) and affiliated with the NGO, Partners In Health, PIH) are helping to reduce the spread of TB globally by investigating tuberculosis transmission in low-resource settings as well as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Surgeons in the Division of Thoracic Surgery are partnering with health care workers in these settings to strengthen surgical services.
Read about the Brigham's global initiatives in TB research and treatment.
Call The Lung Center at 1-844-BWH-LUNG (1-844-294-5864) to make an appointment with a cough specialist or request an appointment online.
Physicians can call 1-844-BWH-LUNG (1-844-294-5864) to refer a patient or can make an online referral.
The Lung Center is located at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at the 15 Francis Street entrance. Thoracic surgery, pulmonary and critical care medicine and thoracic imaging are adjacent to one another, making accessibility and appointment scheduling seamless.
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