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Tuberculosis Screening of Chest Radiographs.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most common causes of death by an infectious agent, with an estimated nine million new cases appearing every year. About one-third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterial strain that causes the majority of cases. TB is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where widespread poverty and malnutrition reduce resistance to the disease. Despite progress made in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, the emergence of multi-drug-resistant bacterial strains and opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients, for example, those with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), has exacerbated the problem. However, the likelihood of curing TB is improved when it is diagnosed at an early stage. Computer-aided screening and diagnosis have received increasing attention with the advent of digital chest x-rays (CXRs), which allow image processing that traditional film x-rays do not. Here, we describe our progress - in collaboration with the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) - toward improving TB diagnosis with intelligent software designed for portable scanners that can easily be used in remote locations.