Tuberculosis Soon to Be 'Virtually Untreatable'?
New study finds alarming rates of drug-resistant TB
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2012 1:20 PM CDT
This 2009 photo shows a TB patient in Lopburi, Thailand.   (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

(Newser) – Drug-resistant tuberculosis is on the rise, and a new study suggests that the lung disease may soon become "virtually untreatable." Multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is resistant to at least two first-line drugs, and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) is also resistant to two more types of drugs. In Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, rates of both MDR and XDR are higher than had been thought—up to 10 times higher in certain areas—according to the study. "As more individuals are diagnosed with, and treated for, drug-resistant TB, more resistance to second-line drugs is expected to emerge," says a rep for the CDC, which ran the study.

Drug-resistant TB can take as long as two years to treat, compared to six months for normal TB, and is more likely to be fatal. Plus, it can cost 200 times more to treat—$250,000 or more per patient in the US—and the treatment is "limited, expensive, and toxic," one expert tells Reuters. Side effects can include deafness and psychosis. "Without a robust pipeline of new drugs to stay one step ahead, it will be nearly impossible to treat our way out of this epidemic," the expert says. The study found XDR-TB in 77 countries around the world.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Sep 1, 2012 1:57 PM CDT
Awesome! Thank you everyone, who runs to the doctor for an antibiotic every time they sneeze. Thank you big pharma for caring more about money then the well being of your children and grandchildren. Thank you factory farms for throwing buckets of antibiotics into your feed so the animals wouldn't die and fester in their own shit. We couldn't have done it without all of you. Give yourselves a hand.
Aug 31, 2012 7:38 AM CDT
Whatever swine posted that this was "hilarious" should go to hell.
Aug 30, 2012 8:39 PM CDT