Analysis Of Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Characteristics, Treatment And Prevention Sample Paper

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most contagious diseases. According to Kremer, Ballard, Estaquier, Poulain-Godefroy, and Locht, TB kills more people than any other infectious disease (1). An especially disturbing issue is that it has been on the resurgence in the recent past. This problem has been compounded by the emergence of drug-resistant strains. The causative agent of TB is known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIF).

Although lungs are the most commonly attacked body parts, this deadly disease can attack other organs in our bodies. XDR-TB (Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis) is a strain of TB that is resistant to most potent drugs. Majority of patients suffering from XDR-TB do not recover. For the lucky ones, treatment follows a strict schedule of drugs that may take six months to two years (NIF). Therefore; it is wise to prevent people from getting into contact with the XDR-TB bacteria. Frequent tests and isolation of victims are some of the most effective ways of keeping people safe. This paper gives a detailed analysis of XDR-TB.

Microorganism Description

Like any other form of TB, XDR-TB is caused by Mtb. Infected persons introduce these bacteria into the air through coughs and sneezes. A point to note is that TB bacterium is only spread by people with active Tuberculosis. Interestingly, this bacterium can stay in the air for an extended period. Studies have shown that Mtb can survive in the open for seven hours, depending on the weather conditions (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).

For one to develop active TB, Mtb must enter the body. This takes place when an individual breathes in air contaminated with it. The bacteria later moves into the lungs and begins its growth. Mtb later multiplies and attacks other body organs. This microorganism acts quickly since it is easily transported through the blood from one body part to the other. It is worth noting that the immune system cannot prevent Mtb from multiplying and spreading after the initial infection (NIF). The success of Mtb is, thus, greatly contributed by its unique characteristics and its ability to move from one part of the body to the other with ease.

Disease Characteristics

Around 1/3 of the global population is infected with the TB bacteria (CDC). Luckily, only a few of the infected people develop full-blown TB. TB of the lungs, pulmonary TB, is the most contagious form of TB. This explains why 75 % of all TB infections are related to the lungs. XDR TB is one of the less common forms of drug-resistance TB. It occurs after Mtb becomes resistant to powerful antibiotics. Isoniazid and rifampin are some of the most potent TB antibiotics (Ruger). XDR TB is spread like any other type of TB (CDC). One of the ways through which it is dispersed involves inhaling the XDR TB bacteria.

Also, failure to follow a treatment regime or unreliable TB treatments leads to an XDR TB infection. The disease is also popular with people who develop TB after overcoming an earlier infection. Ruger adds that individuals suffering from diseases that weaken the immune system are prone to XDR TB, too (6). This explains why this killer disease is most prevalent in patients suffering from HIV and AIDS. Symptoms of active TB include “cough, loss of weight and appetite, fever, chills and, bone pains, and night sweats” (NIF par.7). Other symptoms depend on the part of the body affected.

Treatment

There has not much success in treating XDR TB. Companies are yet to produce an effective vaccine or drug to contain XDR-TB since the market is not large enough to guarantee any returns (Ruger). This is disheartening as TB is very infectious and can spread globally in a short period. TB control programs show that only around 30% to 50% of infected people are treated and cured. Successes of this treatment depend on the severity of the diseases and the degree to which XDR TB bacteria is resistance to drugs.

Strength of a person’s immune system and his adherence to a treatment schedule can also dictate whether he will recover from XDR TB or not. An experiment by Kremer et al. showed that green fluorescent protein (GFP) is an appropriate reporter gene for mycobacteria (1). GFP can, hence, identify drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in our bodies. This is a step in the right direction in as far as the treatment of these strains is concerned. The TB bacteria can be detected in a day or two after infection. However, gauging the susceptibility or resistance of the bacteria to drugs takes longer as it has to be multiplied and verified in a specialized laboratory (CDC). Final diagnosis of XDR TB bacteria may take up to twelve weeks.

Infection Prevention

Although the authorities cannot compel individuals to undertake XDR-TB tests, it is appropriate for people to take baseline and follow-up skin tests (Ruger). People with a weak immune system and those exposed to the bacteria are highly recommended to undergo these tests regularly. Latent TB patients, people who have the Mtb in their body, but do not develop symptoms must also seek appropriate treatment. Studies indicate that 10% of individuals with latent TB develop active TB (NIF). Isolating infected people is also a sure way of preventing people from coming into contact with XDR-TB bacteria. Also, there are laws directing on how to treat and contain the spread of XDR-TB. The TB, vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) can suppress XDR-TB (CDC). However, BCG is effective in preventing TB in children only. Therefore, the vaccine cannot be recommended as an effective way of controlling XDR-TB. Avoiding contact with TB bacteria is the best way to prevent an infection.

Conclusion

XDR TB is one of the most dangerous diseases. Its ability to stand against potent drugs makes it very difficult to treat. Also, TB treatment options are very old due to the failure of pharmaceutical companies to invest in new drugs and vaccines. For that reason, most victims do not survive an XDR TB onslaught. Modern scientific methods such as the use of reporter genes have proved important in identifying drug-resistant strains of TB. For instance, GFP genes are crucial in the fight against this killer-disease. Simple ways of preventing contact with the XDR TB have also helped in its control. The threat posed by infectious agents such as XDR TB virus can cripple global and domestic economies. Furthermore, they utilize resources which could otherwise be utilized in other meaningful things. Controlling them can, hence, make the world an even better place to live in.

Works Cited

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fact Sheet: Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB).n.d. Web.

Kremer, Laurent, Baulard Alain, Estaquier Jerome, Poulain-Godefroy Odile and Locht Camille. “Green Fluorescent Protein as a New Expression Marker in Mycobacteria”. Molecular Microbiology 17.5 (1995): 913-922. Print.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIF). Tuberculosis (TB).n.d. Web.

Ruger, Jennifer Prah. Control of Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDRTB): A Root Cause Analysis. Global Health Governance 3.2. (2010). Web.

Quality Process Evaluation And Improvement: Scatter Diagrams

Evaluating the quality of the products released by the company is part and parcel of its existence. Unless a set of efficient quality assessment tools is introduced into the company’s framework of operations, the target customers are most likely to abandon the firm and move on to another organization. However, choosing an appropriate quality assessment and management (QAM) tool is a challenging task, as each has its limitations. A scatter plot is one of these tools (Tools & techniques for process improvement, 2015); helping identify the current tendencies in the quality assurance processes, it allows making forecasts concerning the number of defected items produced and analyze the existing data, therefore, defining the point at which a problem occurred or may occur.

The use of scatter plots is traditionally viewed as an efficient technique for making forecasts (Gray & Larson, 2014). Indeed, scatter plots allow for quick and efficient mapping of the key data by arranging it in a diagram. Defining the trend in the production process with the help of an analysis of the density of the points on the plot and providing an opportunity to locate the possible future outcomes with the use of a trend line (Black, 2011), the specified tool is especially useful for making decisions related to the further choice of resources and the analysis of the possible losses. For instance, the tool in question may help predict an approximate annual gross profit of a company (Tools & techniques for process improvement, 2015). More importantly, a scatter plot should be used as the means to spot the relationship between two specific factors, therefore, proving that a change in one of them will immediately result in alterations in the other one.

The tool in question, in fact, helped me locate a problem in the production process of a small organization and design the pattern for the further financial policy of the firm. As the company that I worked for approached the point at which it was supposed to enter the global market, a rapid decline in the overall quality rates of the goods produced became increasingly evident. It was suspected that, by switching to another supplier, the entrepreneurship suffered a decline in the quality-related statistics.

An analysis of the past ten years of the entrepreneurship’s operations showed that the company displayed a noticeable drop in its production quality in March 2015, the time that the first instance of cooperation with the new suppliers occurred. The specified estimation was carried out with the help of a scatter plot; particularly, the correlation between the number of defects and the choice of the supplier was identified. As the scatter plot showed, entrepreneurship was suffering from a significant drop in the quality of the materials supplied, which, in turn, triggered an overall downgrade in the products delivered by the organization.

The significance of a scatter plot as one of the tools used in quality management is not to be underestimated, as it helps locate not only the correlation between two factors but also provides a forecast for a company. Therefore, its use should be encouraged among the firm managers so that the quality rates could remain high. Moreover, a scatter plot creates solid premises for making forecasts regarding a variety of aspects of a firm’s operations; herein, its significance for businesses lies.

Reference List

Black, K. (2011). Business statistics: For contemporary decision making. New York City, NY: John Wiley & Sons. Web.

Gray, E. W., & Larson, C. F. (2014). Project management: The managerial process (6th ed.). New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. Web.

Tools & techniques for process improvement. (2015). Web.

Utilitarianism: John Stuart Mill’s Philosophical Views

Greatest Happiness

The ‘greatest happiness principle’ is based on the belief that an action is right if it promotes “happiness” or, in other words, “pleasure and absence of pain” and it is wrong if it produces “the reverse of happiness” (Mill, 2015, p. 107).

Two Pleasures

It is possible to differentiate between pleasures. Thus, the pleasure has a higher value if as many people as possible can enjoy it (Mill, 2015). Thus, it is possible to focus on the quantity.

At the same time, if the pleasure is of higher quality, quality is more important than quantity. For instance, even if a limited number of people can benefit from an action that brings high-quality pleasure (even if it will not be appreciated by other people due to their lack of knowledge or experience), this action is more valuable than the one that brings pleasure of lower quality to more people.

False Assertions

According to Mill (2015), Utilitarianism is not a ‘selfish doctrine’ as it may seem as people often act to promote happiness of others. Utilitarianism is not only about actions that make individuals happy, but it is about actions that increase happiness of many. Thus, people often feel better if they see that others are happy (giving presents, praising supporting others makes individuals happier due to compassion all humans have). Besides, happy people tend to act in a way that promotes happiness due to their emotional state.

Utilitarianism does not set too high standards as individuals are not supposed to act in a way to promote happiness of the entire humanity. Some actions can bring happiness to individuals but this will still means promotion of happiness in the world and, hence, the action will be regarded as right. Thus, through making oneself happy, an individual contributes to making other people happier as this individual will be more eager to promote happiness.

The doctrine is not godless as the Christian beliefs teach that God created people so that they could be happy, which is the major principle of Utilitarianism. In other words, Utilitarianism is based on one of the major Cristian values, promotion of happiness.

Finally, utilitarianism does not need time to evaluate the impact of this or that action as the previous experience of the humanity includes this evaluation. People have learnt about outcomes of many actions and now they know what is right and what is wrong.

Why is General Happiness Desirable?

General happiness is desirable, as each individual actually desires to be happy. According to Mill (2015), general happiness can be seen as the sum total of happiness of each individual. It is also important to distinguish between actions that are means to achieve happiness and those that are a part of happiness. Thus, listening to music is a desirable happiness, not just a mere means to achieve happiness.

Desire of Things Other Than Happiness

Critics of utilitarian principles stress that, according to this approach, happiness is the only thing that is desired and, hence, virtue cannot be desired. However, Mill (2015) argues that virtue can also be desired even if it does not bring immediate happiness to an individual. The philosopher stresses that people often feel happiness when they act in a way that brings happiness to others. Therefore, virtue can be desired, as it is often a way to become happier through bringing happiness to others.

Reference List

Mill, J. S. (2015). Utilitarianism. In O. Roca & M. Schuh (Eds.), An examined life: Critical thinking and ethics (pp. 107-117). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

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