GENEVA, Feb 3 (KUNA) -- The highest levels of multidrug-resistant
tuberculosis (MDR-TB) ever recorded have been revealed in a study published on
Friday in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
A new global overview of TB drug resistance shows record levels of this
serious public health threat, with some countries reporting MDR-TB in more
than 65 per cent of patients who have been previously treated for TB.
This study is the most comprehensive analysis available of all types of TB
drug resistance using current global data.
Cases of MDR-TB have been reported in 80 countries, in some instances in
almost 30 per cent of all newly diagnosed cases. High rates of drug resistance
were reported in Belarus, Estonia, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan.
"Surveillance of resistance to drugs is the cornerstone of TB control,"
says Dr Matteo Zignol, from the Stop TB Department at the World Health
"Following 15 years of intensive effort, we now have high quality data for
two-thirds of countries in the world. At the same time, we don't know the full
extent of the problem because we lack data from many countries, in particular
India and most of Africa where the TB burden is high."
On the positive side, Zignol says China has introduced a nationwide TB
survey that "represents a critical step towards addressing this problem in one
of the world's largest TB control programmes".
"The number of TB patients diagnosed and treated for MDR-TB is increasing
worldwide but much remains to be done," says Zignol. "In 2010, only 16% of
MDR-TB patients were given appropriate treatment."
The World Health Organization supports national TB control programmes
worldwide in setting up drug resistance surveillance so they can respond
promptly to outbreaks of drug-resistant TB.
Mismanagement of TB treatment is the primary cause of multidrug resistance.
Most cases of TB are cured by a strictly followed, six-month drug regimen that
is provided to patients with support and supervision. Inappropriate or
incorrect use of antimicrobial drugs, use of ineffective formulations or drugs
of suboptimal quality can cause drug resistance. (end)
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