The new, soon-to-be-released TB drugs have been specifically developed to address drug-resistant strains, but experts warn that without proper disease management, patients will become resistant to the new treatments before they can do much good.
Some Indian news reports have criticized the Mumbai clinic for causing unnecessary panic, but the fact that it is identifying and reporting such cases is a good sign, Cegielski says. "In the past 10 years, there has been this tidal wave of developing countries discovering drug-resistant TB cases," he adds. The problem itself is not new, but now it is better documented thanks to increased awareness and improved access to drug-resistant screening technologies. "There are still probably more cases of highly drug-resistant tuberculosis than we know about," Cegielski says.
Tuberculosis may not be as pressing a concern in the U.S., where in 100,000 people there are only about 3.6 cases (pdf), compared with 280 in Southeast Asia and 450 in Africa, according to WHO. But in the age of drug-resistant TB, every nation is vulnerable. As the nonprofit Stop TB Partnership said in a recent campaign, "TB anywhere is TB everywhere."