Quick Post on Totally Drug-Resistant TB

I saw and discussed TDR-TB in a previous post, but wanted to point out the major take home message from the Indian Express news article describing it:

An audit of the patients’ prescriptions showed that 3 of the 1st 4 patients received unsupervised 2nd-line drugs often in incorrect dosages by private practitioners in an attempt to treat their multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). By the time they were referred to us, they had moved from the MDR stage and the XDR stage to TDR-TB

Over 40% of Indians have TB. According to an NPR account of this article, India has one of the highest percentages of Multi-Drug-Resistant strains of TB (110,000 new cases in 2008). But it is the inaccurate prescription of and dosage by untrained physicians that is driving the progression into TDR-TB. Only 5 of 106 physicians knew and prescribed the correct dosage. The other problem is that it is in the slum areas where the poorest Indians live where TB is spread the most rapidly, and they have the least access to decent health care.

We have to start understanding that people without proper health care are going to impact the entire world. This is a global microbial world now. And we are losing our wonder drugs.

Which is the next serious pathogen that is going to pop-up in 2012?

Stay tuned.

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