Pharmaceutical International News - June 2012
India Fears Totally Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 25/06/2012 - 10:45:00
Tuberculosis that drugs just can't treat is on the rise in India, health officials say. Now fearing the new Indian tuberculosis strain may become an epidemic, they've highlighted how India seems ill-prepared to take it on.
To some, tuberculosis might be considered one of history's lost diseases but it's still very much active. In the US alone, it's thought the condition is experienced by approximately 11,500 people at any one time.
A pulmonary infection arising from the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, it's transmitted through the air and, at the start of this year, initial evidence began to emerge of a new and lethal tuberculosis mutation - TDR-TB (Totally Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis).
TDR-TB is the next stage on from MDR-TB (Multi Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis). According to the Times of India, since March, over 100 new MDR-TB cases have been diagnosed. Now, the more vicious and ultimately incurable TDR-TB is taking hold in India.
It's thought that the first ever TDR-TB cases probably originated in Iran in 2009. Fast forward to the present day and it's a chief concern for India's body of public health officials.
Totally Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
A study carried out there discovered that less than five per cent of the country's private doctors could correctly diagnose Multi-Drug-Resistant TB under simulated conditions. What, then, if they were faced with multiple cases of Totally Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis?
Earlier this month, India banned certain types of TB blood-testing kits on account of their potential to deliver inaccurate results. "Inaccurate blood tests are rampant for TB diagnosis in India", one official told the Times of India. He continued: "It is also expensive: over Rs 4,000 for the three blood tests.
"Inaccurate test results are making patients who are TB-free go through unnecessary treatment, while others are not even being offered treatment because the tests show they are TB negative when they are actually positive."
Image copyright ‘Y tambe' - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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