Drug resistant tuberculosis a serious threat to public healthListen /
The highest levels of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis ever recorded have been revealed in a new study published in the "Bulletin of the World Health Organization".
The study says that some countries are reporting multi-drug resistant-TB or MDR-TB in more than 65 per cent of patients who have been treated for TB.
MDR-TB is the strain of tuberculosis that cannot be treated with two of the best anti-TB medicines used as the first-line drugs to TB patients.
The countries with high rates of drug resistance include Belarus, Estonia, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan.
Dr Dennis Falzon from the WHO Stop TB Department says MDR-TB is a serious threat to public health.
"It is a serious public health threat because patients who develop drug resistance are much more difficult to treat whereas patients who have sensitive TB require usually between six and eight months of treatment with drugs which are usually very well tolerated and which are not expensive. In contrast, patients who need treatment for drug resistant TB usually require treatment for two years with many more drugs and drugs which are less effective and drugs which are less effective and which cause more side effects and which are more expensive."