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Tuberculosis still alive and well

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Tuberculosis is often considered one of those diseases of the past: long cured and long forgotten. But the Erie County Health Department evaluated more than 3,700 people for the disease last year and found 19 active cases. Sunday was World Tuberculosis Day, designed to remind people there is still a problem and the array of medicines to treat and cure TB is shrinking. 

There are also more and more people whose TB can't be treated at all. That's why there is more interest in vaccinations to prevent catching the disease in the first place.

"[There's] the normal, regular, run of the mill tuberculosis that's treatable by routine antibiotics. Then there's the multi-drug resistant, which is resistant to the first line of drugs, but it still responds reasonably well to the second line drugs. And then there's extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, which is resistant to pretty much everything we've got," Connell said.

Connell says he's working on new vaccines with a fellow researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.