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Multidrug Resistant-TB on the Rise Globally

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Multidrug Resistant-TB on the Rise Globally

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According to a recent World Health Organization report, an estimated 500,000 cases of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) occurred in 2007, with 55 countries reporting an increase.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said in a meeting April 1, 2009 that, “This is the true alarm bell. This tells us that resistant strains are now circulating in the general population, spreading widely and largely silently in a growing pool of latent infection.”

“Preventing and managing drug-resistant TB is a global health imperative,” she continued.

“Obviously, this is a situation set to spiral out of control. Call it what you want: a time-bomb or a powder keg. Any way you look at it, this is a potentially explosive situation.”

TB is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If not promptly diagnosed and treated, every person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat could—through coughing, sneezing, speaking or singing—infect other people.

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