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Tuberculosis on the Rise in San Diego

Human cases of a type of tuberculosis associated with cattle are on the rise in San Diego County. UCSD researchers suspect the culprit may be the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products from Mexico. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

The type of TB known as M. bovis is prevalent in Mexican cattle. Most of the local cases of this strain have been in people who were born in Mexico. UCSD researcher Timothy Rodwell says M. bovis is resistant to one of the main drugs used to treat the disease. So it can take nine months to cure, as opposed to six months for regular TB.

Rodwell: The other problem that we're finding is if you look at how people are doing, it turns out that people with M. bovis TB as twice as likely to die during treatment, than people with regular TB. And we're very unclear about why that is at this point.

Dr. Rodwell says unpasteurized milk products from Mexico should be considered unsafe. He says it's also vital that Mexico takes steps to eliminate M. bovis from cattle.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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