Thanks to Andrew M. Seaman for tweeting the link to this Reuters report: South Africa risks spreading totally drug-resistant TB: study. Excerpt:
Patients with contagious and highly drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) are being routinely discharged from hospitals across South Africa, exposing others in their communities to potentially deadly infections, researchers said on Friday.
In a study in the medical journal The Lancet, they said the patients, with strains of TB known as extensively-drug resistant (XDR) and totally drug resistant (TDR) TB, have exhausted all available treatment options and are sent home.
"These patients can survive for months or even years and are contributing to the community-based spread of XDR-TB," said Keertan Dheda, who led the study at the University of Cape Town's department of medicine.
Tuberculosis infects the lungs and can spread through coughing and sneezing. In recent years, drug-resistant strains have spread around the world, batting off standard antibiotics and posing an increasingly urgent public health threat.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in Eastern Europe, Asia and South Africa, 450,000 people have MDR-TB, and around half of these will fail to respond to existing treatments.