Friday, March 19, 2010

Cases of drug resistant tuberculosis reach new highs

A new report from the World Health Organization says that cases of drug resistant tuberculosis is running at an all time high. As the cases of TB resistant to drugs increase, it also increases the chances of tuberculosis spreading out of control. The highest levels of drug resistant TB cases are found just outside of the European union.

From the Guardian, writer Sarah Boseley gives us more details on the WHO report.

The report shows that one in four cases in parts of Russia are drug-resistant. The WHO estimates that 440,000 people worldwide had multi-drug-resistant forms of the disease (MDR-TB) in 2008, the last year for which there are complete figures, and that a third of them died. MDR-TB is defined as cases in which the two most commonly used and most effective drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin, do not kill the bacteria causing the disease.

More alarming is extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which was first identified in 2006 in a small group of people with HIV in South Africa, almost all of whom died. It is resistant not only to the two basic drugs but also to the second-line antibiotics, including fluoroquinolone, amikacin, kanamycin and capreomycin.

In poor areas such as KwaZulu-Natal, where XDR-TB was first seen, aggressive chemotherapy treatment lasting two years, which can still save lives, is unavailable.

The report warns that not enough is known even about the extent of drug-resistant TB and that the cost of checking the spread of the disease will be high.

Not all countries have the surveillance systems to pick up cases of XDR-TB, but in the 40 that were able to submit data to the WHO, 5.4% of all their drug-resistant cases were XDR-TB. In eight countries, such strains accounted for 10% of all resistant cases. So far, 58 countries have confirmed at least one case of XDR-TB.

Drug resistance in general is running at an all-time high, at 3.6% of all TB cases. Almost half of all the cases are in China and India. In 2008, an estimated 150,000 people died of drug-resistant TB.

1 comment:

Medical Billing Software said...

This is scary to hear about the drug resistant tuberculosis.So how is this going to be dealt with?