Rate of Sterilization of Sputum from Patients with Pulmonary Tuberculosis
In 1973 , as part of a study to evaluate the usefulness of a procedure developed by us for precise microscopic enumeration of acid-fast bacilli in the sputum of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, the number of culturable mycobacterial cell units per ml. of sputum was determined in 28 patients before and during chemotherapy. The data obtained clearly showed, perhaps for the first time, that there is a very significant decrease in the acid-fast burden, at least in some patients, during the first two weeks of treatment. The data further suggested that quantitation of the culturable mycobacterial burden might well provide a useful mechanism for comparison of chemotherapeutic drug regimens. The present study was prompted by these observations.