Forgotten Plague

Credit: ISTOCKPHOTO

Although tuberculosis infection rates are falling, nearly 9 million new cases were reported worldwide in 2011 and 1.4 million people died from the disease, according to the World Health Organization. More than 10,000 new cases and about 500 deaths were reported in the United States that year.

The Vanderbilt Tuberculosis Center has been established to improve treatment and prevention of this often fatal disease. Dr. Timothy Sterling, the David E. Rogers Professor of Medicine, is director of the center. His research has significantly advanced treatment and prevention of the highly infectious bacterial disease, which primarily attacks the lungs.

Administratively housed within the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, the new center provides a focal point for collaborative research with the Metro Nashville Public Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health, and with international partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Vanderbilt already participates in TB research in Latin America through the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium and the Caribbean, Central and South America (CCASA) network. Projects in Africa are underway in Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia, and new projects are planned in China, India, Vietnam and in South Africa, through the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV in Durban.

Closer to home the new center has forged alliances with the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health and the infectious disease divisions in the departments of medicine and pediatrics.