by Nadia Gamieldien

To be or not TB

The fight against TB continues

TB continues to kill
A breathe of fresh air
It appears science is taking one step forward, two steps back, when it comes to the treatment of TB. Nearly half of TB patients who receive prior treatment, become resistant to a second-line drug. 

Among 1,278 patients who were resistant to two or more first-line tuberculosis drugs in Estonia, Latvia, Peru, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Thailand, 43.7 percent showed resistance to at least one second-line drug, according to a study led by Tracy Dalton at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

About 1.4 million people died from TB, the second-deadliest infectious disease globally after AIDS, and 650,000 cases were multi-drug resistant in 2010, according to the World Health Organisation. Rising infection rates prompted the U.K. to announce in May it will require pre-entry tuberculosis screening for migrants from 67 countries seeking to enter the country for more than 6 months.

“The global emergence of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis heralds the advent of widespread, virtually untreatable tuberculosis,” the study authors said in the published paper.

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