TB progress threatened by global rise of multidrug resistance

Saturday, 15 April, 2017

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Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people each year than any other infectious disease. New antibiotics are becoming available for the first time but without accurate diagnostics, clear treatment guidelines and improved control efforts, their effectiveness could be rapidly lost.

The rise of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB threatens to derail decades of progress in controlling the disease. In most regions of the world, drug-resistant TB is now predominantly caused by transmission, with an estimated 95.9% of new cases infected with MDR-TB strains due to the bacteria spreading from one person to the next.

Dr David W Dowdy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA, believes we will see either an unprecedented drug-resistant TB epidemic or a reversal of the global problem. “The difference between these two outcomes lies less with the pathogen and more with us as a global tuberculosis control community and whether we have the political will to prioritise a specific response to the disease. Drug-resistant tuberculosis is not standing still; neither can we,” he said.

The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/anandkrish16

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