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.
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