World Bulletin / News Desk
Scientists have found alarming levels of the lung disease tuberculosis in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America that are resistant to up to four powerful antibiotic drugs.
In a large international study published in the Lancet medical journal on Thursday, researchers found rates of both multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) were higher than previously thought and were threatening global efforts to curb the spread of the disease.
"Most international recommendations for TB control have been developed for MDR-TB prevalence of up to around 5 percent. Yet now we face prevalence up to 10 times higher in some places, where almost half of the patients ... are transmitting MDR strains," Sven Hoffner of the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, said in a commentary on the study.
TB is already a worldwide pandemic that in 2010 infected 8.8 million people and killed 1.4 million of them.
Drug-resistant TB is more difficult and costly than normal TB to treat, and is more often fatal.
MDR-TB is resistant to at least two first-line drugs - isoniazid and rifampicin - while XDR-TB is resistant to those two drugs as well as a powerful antibiotic type called a fluoroquinolone and a second-line injectable antibiotic.
Treating even normal TB is a long process, with patients needing to take a cocktail of powerful antibiotics for six months. Many patients fail to correctly complete treatment, a factor which has fuelled a rise in the drug-resistant forms.
Researchers who studied rates of the disease in Estonia, Latvia, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and Thailand found that almost 44 percent of cases of MDR TB were also resistant to at least one second-line drug.
SPREADS THROUGH AIR
Tracy Dalton from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the study, said that so far, XDR-TB has been reported in 77 countries worldwide.
"As more individuals are diagnosed with, and treated for, drug-resistant TB, more resistance to second-line drugs is expected to emerge," she said.
The spread of these drug-resistant strains was "particularly worrisome" in areas with poor healthcare resources and limited access to effective drugs, she added.
TB is a bacterial infection that destroys patients' lung tissue, making them cough and sneeze and spread germs through the air. Experts say anyone with active TB can easily infect another 10 to 15 people a year.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that more than 2 million people will contract MDR TB by 2015.
A report by non-governmental organisations in March warned that $1.7 billion shortfall in global funds to fight TB over the next five years meant 3.4 million patients would go untreated and gains made against the disease will be reversed.
In their research, Dalton and colleagues found that rates of resistance varied widely between countries.
Overall, resistance to any second-line drug was detected in nearly 44 percent of patients, ranging from 33 percent in Thailand to 62 percent in Latvia.
In around a fifth of cases, they found resistance to at least one second-line injectable drug. This ranged from 2 percent in the Philippines to 47 percent in Latvia.
XDR-TB was found in 6.7 percent of patients overall. Rates in South Korea, at 15.2 percent, and Russia at 11.3 percent, were more than twice the WHO's global estimate of 5.4 percent at that time.
"These results show that XDR-TB is increasingly a cause for concern, especially in areas where prevalence of MDR-TB is high," said Hoffner.
Roughly 70 million tonnes of fibres are traded globally per year, but nearly two thirds are made from non-renewable products like petroleum and natural gas.
Researchers havfe said that the flaw leaves data stored by apps vulnerable with almost every category of app considered vulnerable
SpaceX revealed Monday that it is building a test track for the Hyperloop, a concept for ultra-fast ground transport the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, unveiled.
Biologists have created chicken embryos with dinosaur-like faces by tinkering with the molecules that build the birds' beaks.
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The slowdown in the rate of rising temperatures, from faster gains in the 1980s and 1990s, has puzzled scientists because heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions
The discovery challenges currently held theories that black holes and their host galaxies grew in relative lockstep over the eons.
Australian researchers are developing the new way to have a final product for Boeing Co, Airbus Group NV, very quickly than now. 3D printing can cut production times for components from three months to just six days.
Bogachev is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.
The account started sharing videos and photos of the militant group a few days ago
U.S., UK spies hacked SIM card maker Gemalto's system, Intercept says, giving spies ability to monitor calls on billions of phones
The next time an earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, a handful of computers in offices across the region will have access to a software that will send out an alarm, alerting people before the earthquake strikes.
Researchers in Britain have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher than spider silk.