TUBERCULOSIS: Experts Fear Multidrug Resistant Strain
A small but growing number of people worldwide have contracted a form of tuberculosis that is resistant to conventional treatments, and if left unchecked, the disease could spur "a health crisis comparable to AIDS," the AP/Washington Times reports. Dr. Marcos Espinal, a World Health Organization researcher who led a study published in yesterday's Journal of the American Medical Association, said, "If we don't encourage countries to do a good treatment of TB, then we will have an epidemic on our hands." Treatments for multidrug resistant TB are much more expensive than traditional medications and have to be taken for up to two years, creating obstacles for poor, developing nations. WHO estimates that over the next two decades, almost 1 billion people will become infected with the new strain, and 35 million will die if the disease is not treated properly. According to CDC statistics, 45 states and the District of Columbia reported at least one case of multidrug resistant TB between 1993 and 1998 (5/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.