Sunday, November 07, 2010
Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis
Photo by John Carroll, November 2010
Chest x-ray: Pulmonary tuberculosis afflicting a 25 year old Haitian female
Multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis is a treatable, airborne infectious disease that killed an estimated 1.5 million people between 2000 and 2009 — an annual rate 10times that of the H1N1 influenza virus.1,2
During this period, barely 0.5% of the estimated 5 million people who became ill with MDR tuberculosis received treatment with quality-assured second-line drugs. The rest continued to transmit resistant bacteria to others — in their homes, communities, workplaces, and other places where people congregate.
The results: an increase, in a number of locales, in the proportion of tuberculosis cases that were MDR; a frightening increase in the proportion of strains with broad-spectrum resistance, especially in areas with a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; and, in some areas, an unraveling of hard-won progress in tuberculosis control.
New England Journal of Medicine, November 2010