March 1, 2013

Wolf in sheep's clothing: Uncovering how deadly bacteria trick the immune system

An outbreak of tuberculosis in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles may have exposed up to 4,500 individuals to the bacterium that causes the deadly disease and has left federal officials scrambling to intervene.

The outbreak is occurring during winter, when homeless individuals are driven to crowded shelters, when influenza is peaking and when people's vitamin D levels, typically boosted by sunlight exposure, are low. A new UCLA study offers critical insight into how various bacteria may manipulate such factors to their advantage.