An SEM of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteriaWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, CDC - JANICE CARR

Just as India celebrated the one-year anniversary of what appears to be the last child to be infected with polio in that country, physicians there have reported the occurrence of a dreaded disease: a deadly form of tuberculosis that is completely resistant to any of the drugs typically used to treat it. They described patients with the incurable illness, called totally drug-resistant tuberculosis (TDR-TB), in the February issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

This new finding makes India the third country in which TDR-TB has appeared. Cases of the disease turned up in Italy in 2007 and in Iran in 2009, though some researchers claim that TDR-TB is just a more severe form of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which has been found in at least 58 countries across the globe.

A variety of factors could have led...

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