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Friday 21st October 2016

Drug-resistant TB on the rise

2nd May 2008

Experts have warned that drug-resistant tuberculosis is posing a growing threat to the UK.

World Health

The problem is also on the increase and it is feared that immigration may be a significant factor but also pointed to poor measures in controlling outbreaks among prisoners and drug users.

The Health Protection Agency examined 28,620 TB infections in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 1998 and 2005 and found the proportion of cases resistant to any of the first-line drugs rose from 5.6% to 7.9%.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, also highlighted a small increase in cases of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).

Figures show that the number of people infected with drug-resistant TB rose from 170 in 1998 to 336 in 2005. However, it is still a small proportion of the total number of TB cases.

The HPA team concluded that the increases highlight the need for early case detection, rapid testing of susceptibility to drugs, and improved treatment completion.

The British Lung Foundation said GPs and clinicians, particularly those based in London, needed to be vigilant and ensure that people with symptoms were referred promptly for further investigation to a TB clinic or for an X-ray.

The World Health Organization revealed in February that MDR-TB had hit the highest levels ever recorded across the world with cases of drug resistant TB found in 45 countries.

Professor Peter Davies, lead clinician for the National Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Service (MDRTB Service), warned individual doctors had very little experience in managing drug resistant cases.


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