An international epidemic of multi drug-resistant tuberculosis may be more widespread than previously thought, says an article in The Lancet.
Multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is able to withstand treatment with the two most potent anti-TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin.
In this study, World Health Organization researchers identified multi drug-resistant TB in all 79 countries they surveyed. Of the 424 000 new cases of multi drug-resistant TB in 2004, more than half occurred in China, India and Russia.
The overall median prevalence of multi drug-resistant disease in new cases of TB was 1 percent. In eight countries, including Kazakhstan and Latvia, the prevalence was 6.5 percent.
Increasing rates of multi drug-resistant disease were identified in Botswana and Tomsk Oblast in Russia, while decreasing rates were seen in Cuba, Hong Kong and the United States.
Precursor to XDR-TB
"MDR-TB is a precursor to XDR-TB [extensive drug-resistant tuberculosis], recently reported among HIV-infected people in South Africa," wrote study author Mario Raviglione. He said the study findings "emphasise the importance of implementing sound tuberculosis control activities to prevent further creation of MDR tuberculosis and the necessity of mainstreaming high-quality treatment for MDR tuberculosis into routine tuberculosis control programmes. Otherwise, XDR-TB is bound to keep emerging as a fatal variant of TB, especially in high HIV-prevalence settings."
About 8.9 million people around the world develop TB each year. In 2004, TB killed 1.7 million people. – (HealthDayNews)
A-Z of Tuberculosis
Multi-drug resistant TB
For more information on care and support of tuberculosis visit South African National TB Association (SANTA) or phone them on 011 454 0260.