Apr 1, 2009 | 1
The growing prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis is a "potentially explosive situation," the World Health Organization's director general, Margaret Chan, said today at the opening of a three-day meeting on the problem.
Representatives from 27 countries affected by multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) are gathering in Beijing to discuss how to address the trend. MDR-TB is resistant to first-line drugs; XDR-TB doesn’t respond to those meds or second-line therapies. More than 500,000 MDR-TB cases occur annually—only 3 percent of them treated according to WHO standards—and XDR-TB exists in more than 50 countries, the agency says. People with HIV, whose immune systems are already weakened by the AIDS-causing virus, are at increased risk of TB.
Feb 26, 2009 | 1
Curing tuberculosis that's resistant to the most commonly used, first-line drugs is a growing problem, with an estimated half million people worldwide now infected with so-called MDR (multi-drug resistant) TB. Of those, an estimated 50,000 have extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains that don't respond to more potent drugs, either. Now scientists say they've hit upon a potential breakthrough: an antibiotic previously dismissed as useless against TB killed 13 resistant strains of the bacteria in the lab when it was combined with another drug.
The finding, published today in Science, has yet to be tested in people, study co-author John Blanchard, a biochemistry professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, tells ScientificAmerican.com. But in a Petri dish, the meds, meropenem and clavulanate, destroyed and stopped the replication of the resistant TB bacteria, cultured from mucus samples from South Korean patients.
Dec 12, 2008
Staggering numbers of Zimbabweans are at risk of cholera, following the deaths of 775 people and infections among more than 16,000 since August, World Health Organization officials report. Half of the country’s 12 million people could be exposed to the disease, which is spread through contaminated food or water and poor sanitation, and an estimated 60,000 are believed to be at risk of contracting it.
The outbreak reflects a stark decline in health in Zimbabwe since last year, when there were just 65 cases of cholera and four deaths, according to WHO statistics. Basic government services in the country, including the provision of water and garbage collection, have collapsed under President Robert Mugabe, who insisted yesterday that the epidemic is over, today’s New York Times notes. The disease has spilled into neighboring South Africa, where 460 cases and nine deaths have been reported.
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