"We are frightened by the development of multidrug-resistant
TB, reaching 10% of all our TB cases in the province [of KwaZulu Natal,
South Africa]. It means we might get actually two TB epidemics, and both
would get out of control because of HIV. …Further, what we see in our
department [of Health in KZN], is that a number of people from our staff
has HIV and may be exposed to MDR-TB."
Dorfling press - picture by Peter McKenzie
Fifty years ago we had no drugs to cure for TB.
Now strains that are resistant to the drugs are reported in every country. We have new virulent strains of TB that are resistant to all major anti-TB drugs. This is a crisis caused by patients with TB who do not complete their course of medication and so develop Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB.
These patients develop a resistance to the
drugs Rifampicin and Isoniazid which are the key drugs used in the
treatment of TB.
It is estimated that there are 2000 new MDR-TB patients every year.
These patients will spread the new MDR TB to their families and friends. By not completing their treatment they are putting everyone at risk of becoming infected with MDR TB.
Our country cannot afford this huge waste of money........
Costs involved in treating MDR TB patients
The treatment period of MDR-TB is 18 to 24 months as opposed to the 6 months for ordinary TB.
At the very
best only 50% of MDR-TB patients will be cured.
Complete your TB treatment the first time round