Mycobacteria are gram-positive, rod-shaped bacilli. Several species belong to this family. Some of these are harmless and others are pathogenic to humans. Of particular concern are the species responsible for human tuberculosis infection. These belong to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, which includes Mycobacterium tuberculosis (also called Koch-BK-Bacillus), Mycobacterium africanum and Mycobacterium bovis. Even today, tuberculosis remains a global emergency and an immense public health problem. The most widespread and widely known form of tuberculosis is pulmonary tuberculosis, although the disease can also affect other organs (pleura, nervous system, lymph nodes, bones, and urogenital system). The infection can also occur without symptoms of illness, in which case it is referred to as latent tubercular infection.

Why use Real time PCR assay for MBTC?

Mycobacteria are characterised by a rather slow culture growth; they can be detected by microscopic examination with the use of suitable colourant systems that utilise the high lipid content of their wall. Investigation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex using Real time PCR is strongly recommended as a test to be carried out in parallel with examination of the culture and microscopy.