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Reducing TB With Ultraviolet Light

TB is a potentially fatal disease caused by bacteria. It can attack any part of the body but usually targets the lungs.// Researchers say beginning in the 1940s with the discovery of antiviral drugs, the disease slowly started to disappear in the United States. However, it began to reappear in the 1980s when the HIV epidemic surfaced. Researchers say TB is a co-infection of HIV.However, the incidence of TB has declined since the late 1980s.

Researchers from New Orleans and elsewhere are nearing the end of a five-year study that aims to reduce the spread of tuberculosis in homeless shelters. So far, they say results look promising.

Researchers, installed ultraviolet lights in three homeless shelters to determine if the lighting, along with proper ventilation, can reduce the incidence of TB. The lights are installed on the ceilings and upper walls of any room where people gather, including cafeterias, dorm rooms, staff offices and TV rooms.

Researchers say they are not sure whether the lower rates of TB can be attributed to the UV lights, but they are hopeful. In experimental conditions -- light is found to decrease bacteria so researchers say there should not be any reason it wouldn’t be effective in a homeless congregate setting.However, researchers say their expectations need to be confirmed by a team of epidemiologists who will officially determine and assess the results of the study.

Specialists conclude saying, if UV light is found to lower respiratory disease incidence, it may be used in military barracks, schools, transportation systems, and hospitals in the future.

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