Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculousis In India

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A dangerous new virus strain has reportedly crept into India. Several confirmed cases of what doctors are calling "Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis" or TDR-TB have been identified. WXIN has more.

"While the new strain is not expected to spread rapidly it is transmitted through close personal contact. Normally TB is cured by taking antibiotics for about 6-9 months but if the disease is resistant to standard drugs it's going to be harder and more expensive to treat."

There's debate in the public health community about whether the virus is totally drug resistant. The World Health Organization hasn't recognized the term. Either way, India's Daily News Analysis reports one of the infected -- went missing last week -- making the situation all the more concerning.

"TDR-TB is a strain of tuberculosis which cannot be treated by any available drug. This means that a person afflicted by this strain faces 100% mortality rate -- and, until death, can infect many others."

India's government and health ministry have remained quiet so far. Criticism is centered on the government's TB program -- and private doctors in India. The Daily Mail has a quote from Doctors who saw the infected patients at the Mumbai hospital.

"'These ... patients had received erratic, unsupervised second-line drugs, added individually and often in incorrect doses, from multiple private practitioners...'"

The Times of India is reporting those with the virus -- except the missing patient -- will be quarantined by the government. The paper has a statement from a state TB control officer.

"The patients will be housed in a 30-bed sanatorium ... that is relatively pollution-free. 'Eleven of the 14 patients identified with TDR-TB so far in the city will be sent to isolation...'"

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