Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WHO: Drug-resistant TB at record levels worldwide

Substandard and Counterfeit Drugs Play a Part in the Resistance

According to the World Health Organization(WHO) an estimated 440,000 people had multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) in 2008 and a third of them died as the new variant of the TB mycobacterium continues to spread. Globablly, the drug-resistant forms remain a relatively small portion of the overall estimated 9.4 million cases of TB. However, experts fear that drug-resistant TB is on the rise.

Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is caused by bacteria that are resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, the anti-TB drugs most commonly used. It can be contracted by exposure to a resistant form or the resistance can be acquired during treatment.

The most common cause is the failure to complete the six-month treatment or the use of substandard or counterfeit drugs.

A potentially more serious problem is extensively drug-resistant TB or XDR-TB, in which the bacteria are resistant not only to isoniazid and rifampicin, but also to a fluoroquinolone and any of the second-line injectable drugs, such as amikacin, kanamycin and capreomycin.

No good numbers are available for the incidence of XDR-TB, but the WHO estimates there were about 25,000 cases in 2008 and that nearly all its victims died. Since XDR-TB was first reported in 2006, 58 countries have reported at least one case.

The first case of XDR-TB in the United States was reported by Associated Press (AP) in December 2009. He was treated at a sanitarium for nearly two years before being discharged.

This issue of counterfeit, fraudulent and adulterated medications, is causing a deadly healthcare crisis around the globe, energizes the need for material screening of products within the supply chain, from raw materials to dispensing, to properly protect consumers everywhere.

To view LA Times article on TB resistance visit: latimes.com

To view the WHO report visit: who.int

To view AP story visit: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34516639/ns/health-infectious_diseases/%20

No comments: