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Drug resistant TB a ‘global health security risk’ – WHO

Half a million people fell sick with dangerous superbug strains of tuberculosis (TB) in 2012, but fewer than one in four were diagnosed, putting the rest at risk of dying due to the wrong medicines or no treatment at all. [s]Polity[/s] reports that the latest data from the [b]World Health Organisation (WHO)[/b], which says drug-resistant TB is a ‘global health security risk’, showed a third of the estimated 9m people who contract TB do not get the care they need. This has led to drug resistance spreading at an alarming rate and has given rise to incurable strains of the bacterial infection – known as totally drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) – which cannot be treated with any known medicines. 'Earlier and faster diagnosis of all forms of TB is vital,' said [b]WHO director general Margaret Chan[/b]. The WHO has called for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis to be recognised as a public health crisis.

[i]The choice by a medical practitioner[/i], [b]Dr Thato Mosidi[/b], who contracted XDR-TB at Johannesburg’s Lerato Hospital to be part of a clinical access programme aimed at introducing a new XDR-TB treatment in the country could help pave the way for others to get better faster, writes [s]Health-e[/s]. In 2012, SA diagnosed about 6,200 XDR-TB cases but only about 11% of these cases were treated. Mosidi is now seven months into XDR-TB treatment and for the majority of her treatment, she has also been receiving a drug called [b]bedaquiline[/b]. Approved for use in the UA and Europe, [b]Bedaquiline[/b] is the first new drug developed to treat TB in 40 years. Although not yet approved for use in SA, a government clinical access programme is allowing patients to take the drug under close monitoring.

[i]China has, meanwhile, more than halved its TB prevalence[/i], with rates falling from 170 to 59 per 100,000 of the population. [s]BBC News[/s] quotes a report in [b]The Lancet[/b] as saying that the success is due to a huge expansion of a community-based disease control programme. The [b]World Health Organisation[/b] says other countries could use a similar approach. Between 1990 and 2000, levels of TB were reduced in provinces where the WHO-recommended directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) programme – rapid detection and cure of infectious tuberculosis patients living in the community – was adopted. By 2010, TB prevalence in China fell by 57%, tripling the reduction of the previous decade. China accounts for more than one-tenth of cases worldwide, the report says.

[link url=http://www.polity.org.za/article/poor-diagnosis-driving-global-multidrug-resistant-tb-who-warns-2014-03-20]Full Polity report[/link]
[link url=http://www.health-e.org.za/2014/03/24/doctor-turns-patient-contracting-xdr-tb]Full Health-e report[/link]
[link url=http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26611859]Full BBC News report[/link]
[link url=http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62639-2/fulltext]The Lancet report[/link]

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