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XDR-TB: the Latest Global Terror

the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is resistant to standard oral drugs, to newer fluoroquinolones and to one of three injected drugs.

A study of guinea pigs whose cages were placed in the ventilation stream from rooms housing XDR-TB patients has created fears of the bacteria being airborne. Eighty percent of the animals tested positive.

'These outbreaks of this scary form of tuberculosis and its spread underscore that the healthcare infrastructure is largely unprepared for the aerosol transmission of such a pathogen,' says Dr. John Mellors, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and vice chairman of the scientific program at the retrovirus conference.

Such strains have now been reported in 28 countries with the bulk of them mainly in China, India and Russia.

Concludes Nunn, 'Extensively drug-resistant TB is a wake-up call for strengthening basic tuberculosis and HIV care, prevention and control and scaling up the management of drug resistant tuberculosis.’
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