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International News

HIV Fueling Deaths From XDR-TB in South Africa, Researchers Say

February 26, 2007

About 85% of HIV-positive South Africans coinfected with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, TB that is resistant to the two most potent first-line treatments and at least half of available second-line drugs, have died -- a situation that presents one of the most pressing issues in global HIV and TB control -- researchers said on Sunday at the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports (Chong, Los Angeles Times, 2/26). According to Karin Weyer of South Africa's Medical Research Council, cases of XDR-TB have been found in 40 hospitals in South Africa, as well as in every province in the country. Weyer and her colleagues have found about 600 cases of XDR-TB in the country, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/26). XDR-TB has appeared in about 10% of people who had been diagnosed with multi-drug resistant TB in South Africa, according to Weyer (Los Angeles Times, 2/26). According to the Chronicle, XDR-TB does not seem to spread easily, but it does pose a threat to people and health care workers who are HIV-positive (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/26). Since September 2006, about 183 people, most of whom were HIV-positive, have died from XDR-TB in the country. XDR-TB could exacerbate the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, where about five million out of a population of 45 million people are HIV-positive and as many as 1,000 people die of AIDS-related complications daily (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/20). According to World Health Organization estimates, the number of countries with XDR-TB cases had increased from 17 in March 2006 to 28 currently. The most-affected countries include South Africa, South Korea and parts of Eastern Europe, according to CDC. XDR-TB "creates a huge challenge in terms of infection control, especially in settings where high numbers of HIV-positive individuals are converging," such as hospitals, Weyer said. Paul Nunn, coordinator of WHO's TB drug-resistance unit, at the conference said that the 85% mortality rate is "completely egregious" (Los Angeles Times, 2/26). It is important to increase awareness about XDR-TB worldwide "but without causing undue alarm," Nunn said. He added that the international community needs to spend $650 million annually on efforts to control various strains of MDR-TB, of which XDR-TB is one (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/26). Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, said that the XDR-TB cases in South Africa are a "wake-up call" for bolstering TB surveillance and prevention efforts. "We increasingly live in a small world," Fenton said, adding, "With foreign travel and migration to the U.S., we have to be very much aware of emerging threats of XDR-TB" (Los Angeles Times, 2/26).

Online Additional stories about XDR-TB are available on the Kaiser Family Foundation's GlobalHealthReporting.org information service.

Back to other news for February 26, 2007


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2007 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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