Problem

Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis

Other Names:
Incurable tuberculosis
Drug resistant tuberculosis
Nature:
Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is an airborne bacterium that spreads in the same way as normal tuberculosis. Specialists blame its multi-drug resistance on poor medical practice and infected people not completing their full course of antibiotics thereby enabling the drug-resistant strains to develop through mutation. Further, doctors and clinics frequently prescribe the wrong drugs which produce the same effect. Treating multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is 10 times more expensive than normal treatment for tuberculosis thereby making the illness more likely to prove fatal in developing countries. At present, drug-resistant tuberculosis is present in India, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Ivory Coast, but doctors fear the resistant strain could easily spread throughout the world.
Background:
A 1997 joint survey by the World Health Organisation, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease found multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in one-third of the 35 countries surveyed. "Hot zones" of drug-resistant tuberculosis were discovered on all five continents surveyed.

The World Health Programme has been promoting a program that includes closer surveillance of tuberculosis patients to ensure that they take appropriate medicine and adhere to the medication schedule, as well as follow-ups to determine whether patients have been cured. It claims the program, called Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse, or DOTS, has a 96 percent cure rate. Currently only about half of the 3 million to 8 million new tuberculosis cases each year are cured.

Broader Problems:
Tuberculosis
Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Date of last update
28.01.1999 – 00:00 CET
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