Purpose: To provide an overview of tuberculosis (TB), especially the persistent threat of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR), and the role of the nurse practitioner (NP) in diagnosis, treatment, and public health surveillance.
Data sources: Public health sources such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control as well as current literature.
Conclusions: One hundred twenty-five years after the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the disease remains a persistent threat and a leading cause of death worldwide. Medication adherence and prevention are critical to successfully treating and ultimately eradicating this killer disease. Healthcare providers need to be knowledgeable in the detection and diagnosis of TB and to understand that they assume responsibility for public health by monitoring treatment adherence and/or appropriate referral.
Implications for practice: The persistent and increasing threat of MDR-TB and XDR-TB is a significant public health threat. Healthcare providers need to be knowledgeable and vigilant in diagnosing and treating this disease.