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Quarantine Sought For Harsh TB Strain

ied, including one case in Canada. People infected with HIV-AIDS are particularly susceptible because of their depressed immune systems, heightening the risk of rapid spread throughout AIDS-ravaged Africa.

"This is a very, very bad situation," said Nesri Padayatchi, deputy director of the Durban-based Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa. "We're not even sure XDR-TB can be treated, but we are sure that it is spreading."

Jerome Amir Singh, a human-rights lawyer at CAPRISA and a co-author of the journal paper, said what is being proposed are the same measures as public-health officials took in Canada to contain severe acute respiratory syndrome. During the outbreak in Toronto, 30,000 people were quarantined, including 27 who were confined to their homes by court order.

"Like SARS, stringent measures need to be put in place to contain the outbreak," Mr. Singh said.

The WHO said last year that XDR-TB poses as serious a threat to global health as either SARS or bird flu. But officials have stopped short of endorsing forcible confinement.

Dr. Upshur said he understands the proposals will make people uncomfortable, but the alternative is just as unpalatable.

"Restricting freedoms is serious but so is letting the disease spread," he said. "The failure to act would have as many consequences as acting, so this is truly a dilemma."

Source: Bio-Bio Technology
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