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Kenya, Surrounding Region Lack Capacity To Handle XDR-TB, Experts Say

Kenya and its surrounding region lack the capacity to handle extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, if the disease spreads to the region. //The TB virus is said to be resistant to two most potent first-line treatments and some of the available second-line drugs, according to some Kenyan medical experts.

Treating a case of nondrug-resistant TB requires roughly $400, compared with $18,000 to treat multi-drug resistant TB, according to the Kenyan Ministry of Health. A major outbreak of MDR-TB or XDR-TB would strain limited resources in developing countries, including Kenya, scientists say.

'In countries such as Kenya where MDR-TB has already been identified, specific measures now need to be taken to prevent the propagation and dissemination of both MDR-TB and XDR-TB,' W.A. Githui, the principal research officer at the Kenya Medical Research Institute's Centre for Respiratory Diseases Research, said, adding, 'The establishment and scaling up of laboratory capacity is now an immediate requisite.'

Githui also said that 'MDR-TB and XDR-TB can only be prevented by ensuring that national TB programs and health care workers dealing with people with TB work in accordance with acceptable international standards of care.' In addition, Githui called for the proper use of drugs, as well as appropriate measures such as diagnosis and isolation of infectious cases, to prevent the development of drug resistance.

Source-Kaiser Family Foundation

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