Friday, March 21, 2008

'Untreatable TB' arrives in Britain

"Doctors have diagnosed what is believed to be the first ever case in Britain of a virtually untreatable strain of tuberculosis.

"A man... is in isolation at a hospital in Scotland and being treated with a range of antibiotics to control the disease.

"But he has been diagnosed with the XDR-TB strain, which kills half of those infected and is extremely resistant to drugs used to fight more common forms of the infection." - 'Untreatable TB' arrives in Britain


Americans and Europeans should be deeply worried about TB.

At least a third of the world's population is infected with the TB bug, with at least 8.9 million developing TB each year.

The World health Organisation carried out a survey of TB in 79 countries. They found TB drug resistance in virtually every one of these countries.

In Kazakhstan, for example, 14.2% of new cases were of multidrug resistant TB. (BBC NEWS Health Drug resistant TB 'more severe')

Drug resistant TB develops when patients fail to complete a full course of treatment, usually because of a lack of money.

TB patients often have to take an 'expensive' cocktail of drugs for a year.

The big drug companies have spent very little money on developing TB drugs, partly because TB is mainly a disease found among poor people in poor countries.

In some poor countries, the governments have no idea how many poor people have TB.

In Indonesia, for example, many poor people cannot afford either diagnosis or treatment.

A person with drug resistant TB may live for several years before they die.

International Monetary Fund programs in countries such as Indonesia have typically reduced the availability of cheap medical care. (Extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis)

What is the answer?

The USA and Europe should be spending many, many billions on trying to wipe out TB in poor countries.

Countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Russia have to spend much, much more on the health of the poor.

A poor person with TB should be able to get free treatment.

This helps Americans and Europeans by reducing the risk to their health.

World: 'Virtually Untreatable' Form Of TB Emerges - RADIO FREE ...

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

1. Around eight million people develop TB each year.

2. Treatment reaches only about a quarter of these people.

3. Approximately 1.8 million people die each year from TB.

According to :

The sums committed to the United Nations-backed Global Fund to fight TB are still substantially short of the $7.1bn target it set to scale up treatment and prevention activities during 2006-07.

Drug resistant TB - WHO report documents spread of MDRTB and the even more resistant XDR-TB in Arica and Eastern Europe


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