TB Takes a Deadly Turn

Doctors thought tuberculosis was under control. But now a drug-resistant strain is on the loose.

Despite its romantic reputation, tuberculosis was never a disease of just retiring operatic heroines and "sensitive" poets. It was an indiscriminate killer, taking over 100,000 lives each year in the U.S. until the middle of this century, when antibiotics brought it under control. So when TB re-emerged in AIDS patients six years ago, it was greeted with alarm. Still, most doctors believed it posed little risk to the general population, since modern antibiotics could contain the infection before it flared into full-fledged disease.

That view appears to have been overly optimistic. Last week prison authorities in New York State revealed that...

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