Deadly TB Strain is Spreading, WHO Warns

Posted on March 23, 2007  Comments (2)

Deadly TB strain is spreading, WHO warns:

Africa’s large AIDS population is at special risk from the particularly virulent strain, known as XDR-TB (extremely drug resistant), which had been documented in 35 countries worldwide, 16 of them in this year. “This is the most urgent thing I have seen in my 15 years of working on tuberculosis,” said Mario Raviglione, director of the STOP TB program at the World Health Organization. He introduced WHO’s TB report, which coincides with the 125th anniversary of the discovery of the microbe that causes TB.

Some 2 billion people worldwide live with TB, an airborne illness that is normally treatable through inexpensive medication. But if the disease is not diagnosed and treated, it can mutate into drug-resistant strains. In 2005, nearly 9 million people became infected with tuberculosis and 1.6 million died of it, about the same as the year before, which showed that containment efforts were working, Raviglione said. The epidemic is centered primarily in Asia and in Africa, which accounted for 84 percent of the total.

“The good news is that the global incidence may have peaked,” particularly in China, India, and Indonesia, he said. “The bad news is that although the incidence has declined [there] is resistance to most powerful first-line drugs and a form of TB that is resistant to second-line drugs.”

Related: TB infection rate may be on ‘threshold of decline’TB fight could take centuries without new tools: UN‘Virtually untreatable’ TB foundTB Pandemic Threat

2 Responses to “Deadly TB Strain is Spreading, WHO Warns”

  1. CuriousCat: Tuberculosis Risk
    June 3rd, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

    The risks are well known, given the extreme mobility in the world today, for TB, and other communicable diseases, becoming more troublesome, costly and deadly – often due to improper antibiotic use. But we continue to avoid giving this risk near the level of attention it seems to deserve…

  2. CuriousCat: Virtually untreatable’ TB found
    February 23rd, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

    “TB presently causes about 1.7 million deaths a year worldwide, but researchers are worried about the emergence of strains that are resistant to drugs…”

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