In South Africa, Deadly TB Strain is Spread Directly

From the New York Times, by Donald McNeil:

The deadliest strain of tuberculosis is XDR-TB, the “extensively drug-resistant” type, meaning that many antibiotics do not work against it.

XDR-TB is rare but very lethal. Curing it takes up to two years, and the drugs prescribed can cause permanent deafness, nerve damage, vomiting and rashes. Between 50 percent and 80 percent of those who start treatment die.

XDR-TB has been reported in 117 countries, according to the World Health Organization. Most cases are isolated, but thousands of hidden cases are likely to exist because it takes multiple lab tests to detect each one.

The worst known outbreak is in South Africa, in the rural Zulu-dominated mountains behind Durban, where H.I.V. is also extremely common.

Read the rest of the story here.


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