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Home / India News / 2007 / March / March 23, 2007
Drug Resistant TB Hotspots Likely to Emerge

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Drug Resistant TB Hotspots Likely to Emerge

New Delhi, Delhi, India

A much larger TB drug resistance problem exists globally than previously acknowledged, based on new global data published this week by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the 2007 Global TB Report Card released on the eve of World TB Day by two global health advocacy groups, most endemic countries are reporting alarming levels of treatment failures, which are either a sign or a cause of drug resistance.

In Russia, 41% of patients presenting for retreatment of TB are at risk of developing MDR-TB. In South Africa and India, 20% of TB patients in the same category are at risk. Countries with over 10% risk include Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan, Myanmar, Uganda, Thailand and the Philippines.

According to the authors of the Report Card, these retreatment default and failure numbers are an indication that some patients already have a drug resistant strain of the disease, or are a predictor that they may soon develop it. When TB programmes permit defaults, treatment failures and re-treatment failures, they are sending an open invitation for those patients to develop and spread drug resistant TB to others.

"Quality TB treatment services are not expanding quickly enough, nor maintaining high enough cure rates, to stem the tide of drug resistance in most endemic countries," said Dr. Bobby John, President of Global Health Advocates. "DOTS done well can stem TB drug resistance, yet still half of the world's TB cases are not being treated and cured by these services."

In an XDR-TB outbreak last summer, 52 of 53 HIV-positive patients at a South African hospital died from the disease. The strain has since been reported in 28 nations, including every G-8 country. While WHO estimates that 450 000 new MDR-TB cases occur every year, no one is certain how far XDR-TB has spread.

"Incredibly little is known about just how much TB drug resistance there is outside of capital cities and even in some entire countries," said Dr Tim France, Technical and Policy Adviser to Health & Development Networks. "Without proper testing and diagnosis there is no way to know the true extent of the problem."

According to the authors of the Report Card, the areas of weaknesses in the DOTS based national TB control programs in the high burden countries are:

-- Shortage of trained manpower and workload on existing staff

-- Limited diagnostic capacity to diagnose, particularly smear negative TB

-- Weak laboratory system for identifying drug resistance

-- Poor patient follow through

-- Failure to recognize the importance and relevance of HIV in TB control

"We cannot now claim to be surprised when a decade of overlooking the systemic challenges faced by high TB countries brings the entire house tumbling down," added Dr John.

About the report card sponsoring organizations:

Global Health Advocates (www.ghadvocates.org) is a Switzerland based not for profit association advocating for greater attention and action by all stakeholders for global health.

Health & Development Networks (www.hdnet.org) is a non-profit organization based in Thailand. Since its inception, HDN has strived to improve the quality of information and dialogue around the AIDS epidemic and related health and development issues.


MDR TB: Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a specific type that does not respond to the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR) TB does not respond to the second line drugs reserved for treating MDR.

Percent of persons defaulting retreatment + Percent of people experiencing retreatment failure.

DOTS: Directly observed treatment, Short course. The DOTS strategy consists of 5 principal components:

1. Political Commitment with increased and sustained financing
2. Case detection through quality-assured bacteriology
3. Standardized treatment, with supervision and patient support
4. Effective drug supply and management system
5. Monitoring and evaluation system, and impact measurement

To view the TB report card, please click on the link given below:


Ranjit Monga, Brightlite Communications, +91 98112 07293 brightlite@brightliteonline.com

Parul Chand, Brightlite Communications, +91 9811210418 brightlite@brightliteonline.com

Source: Global Health Advocates (Business Wire India)

Press release presented here is sourced from the Source mentioned above and is provided on as-is basis. Please contact the Company / Source directly for any further information in regard to this release. This website will be unable to assist you in regard to the accuracy or correctness of information in this release.

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