Highly drug-resistant TB spreading person to person: study

Chris Dall – Januuary 20, 2017

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that a form of tuberculosis that is resistant to at least four of the front-line antibiotics used to treat the bacterial disease is primarily spreading from person to person in South Africa.

The finding is significant, the authors of the study say, because it suggests that the long-held notion that extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is acquired mainly as the result of inadequate treatment is only part of the story. It could help explain the dramatic rise of XDR-TB in South Africa, which has seen a 10-fold increase in cases since 2002.

And it’s the type of evidence that’s been needed, they say, to transform the approach to fighting spread of the disease.

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