Drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis are at the highest levels disease experts have ever seen, warns the World Health Organization. A survey of 81 countries found that levels of multi-drug resistant TB and even hardier, almost untreatable TB were much higher than expected, reports the BBC. Urgent action is needed to avert a health catastrophe, the WHO cautioned.
The deadly strains of TB were especially prevalent in parts of the former Soviet Union, and experts fear a lack of data from parts of Africa means the hardy disease is spreading even faster than the survey found. "TB drug resistance needs a frontal assault," a WHO doctor urged. "If countries and the international community fail to address it aggressively now we will lose this battle."