Super resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) are a growing global threat, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)
A report to be published on World TB Day reveals that multidrug-resistant TB, or MDR-TB, does not respond to at least two of the best anti TB drugs.
And extensively drug-resistant TB, known as XDR-TB, is virtually untreatable by any of the remaining options.
Said Dr Cornelia Hennig, programme co-ordinator for China: “Our treatment options are very, very restricted… We almost have no weapon to treat it.”
The report precedes an international TB conference in Beijing, which will include representatives from India, China and Russia, the countries with the most drug-resistant cases.
In 2007, there were an estimated 511,000 cases of multi-drug-resistant TB worldwide, and more than 130,000 deaths. About nine million people are infected, most in Africa and Asia.
Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which affects the lungs and is transmitted via droplets from the throat and lungs. In healthy people, the immune system “walls off” the bacteria.
Copyright Press Association 2009