World Health Organization: Drug-resistant tuberculosis now at record levels

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 17, 2010

News release: ‘In some areas of the world, one in four people with tuberculosis (TB) becomes ill with a form of the disease that can no longer be treated with standard drugs regimens, a World Health Organization (WHO) report says. For example, 28% of all people newly diagnosed with TB in one region of north western Russia had the multidrug-resistant form of the disease (MDR-TB) in 2008. This is the highest level ever reported to WHO. Previously, the highest recorded level was 22% in Baku City, Azerbaijan, in 2007. In the new WHO’s Multidrug and Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: 2010 Global Report on Surveillance and Response, it is estimated that 440 000 people had MDR-TB worldwide in 2008 and that a third of them died. In sheer numbers, Asia bears the brunt of the epidemic. Almost 50% of MDR-TB cases worldwide are estimated to occur in China and India. In Africa, estimates show 69 000 cases emerged, the vast majority of which went undiagnosed.”

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