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Multi-drug resistant TB should be treated as a public health emergency

Experts gathered at a conference in London last week called for urgent action to tackle the global problem of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Jacqui Wise(jacqui@mednews.freeserve.co.uk)

LONDON Experts gathered in London last week to call for urgent action to tackle the global problem of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Resistance to the commonly used anti-TB drugs is increasing rapidly in many countries of the world, particularly the former Soviet Union.

Mario Raviglione, co-ordinator of TB Strategy and Operations at the World Health Organisation said: "The situation in countries such as Estonia should be treated as a public health emergency on a par with an Ebola outbreak. In general about 2–3% of TB is multi-drug resistant but this rises to 14% of new cases in Estonia."

The meeting, 'TB drug resistance: from molecules to macro-economics', held at the Royal Society of Medicine, gathered together for the first time specialists in many different fields in order to uncover the extent of drug-resistant TB and discuss strategies to deal with it.

Tuberculosis kills two million people each year and the...

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