New drug-resistant TB strain poses threat to India

New drug-resistant TB strain poses threat to India


Cape Town: India has a major health challenge on its hands, figuring second on the list of countries with the largest concentration of people suffering from XDR-TB, the deadliest form of tuberculosis that is resistant to the most effective anti-TB drugs.

As per statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), there are an estimated one lakh people in India who are suffering from XDR-TB that is resistant to the drugs like Isoniazid and Rifampicin used to treat multidrug-resistant TB besides being resistant to medicines used in second-line treatment of the bacterial disease.

While 4% of the 8.8 million TB cases in the world are resistant to drugs, China has the largest number of XDR-TB patients at around 1.3 lakh, followed by India. Western Europe, however, has the highest rate of drug-resistant TB.

“XDR-TB is a big challenge, besides the HIV-TB combination, that India faces and it has to do more than the normal things to deal with the situation," Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the Stop TB Department of the WHO, told PTI.

The other hotspots for the drug-resistant type of tuberculosis are South Africa and Russia.

Raviglione, who was here to participate in the 38th Union World Conference on Lung Health that concluded last evening, however, expressed satisfaction with the efforts made by India in terms of covering the population with diagnostic and treatment facilities.