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Forcible Detention and Isolation Needed for XDR-TB Patients, warn Experts

ly to a large group of people."

Yet says Jerome Singh, "XDR-TB represents a major threat to public health. If the only way to manage it is to forcibly confine then it needs to be done.

"Ultimately in such crises, the interests of public health must prevail over the rights of the individual."

The World Health Organization has called for the world to prioritise XDR-TB on par with bird flu and recommended governments in impoverished sub-Saharan Africa to develop one strategy to deal with the twin challenges of HIV and TB.

Although South African law permits enforced isolation some lawyers say it comes into conflict with the constitutional guarantees on individual rights.

However, the constitution also guarantees communal rights, including protection from infection and the right to a safe environment.

South Africa's health department yesterday said it has discussed the possibility of enforced isolation with the country's Medical Research Council and the World Health Organization but has not reached a conclusion.
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