Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

International News
Most Drug-Resistant TB Cases Go Untested -- Global Fund Expert

August 12, 2009

On Monday in Bali at the ninth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, the executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria warned of the "under-diagnosis" of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) around the world.

Even among those who have been diagnosed with MDR TB, just a fraction are being treated, said Michel Kazatchkine. "The Global Fund is funding about 25,000 to 30,000 patients but the estimated total number of cases is 500,000. So we are very far off. It is a dangerous epidemic that is spreading."

In Asia-Pacific, the region with the highest number of MDR TB cases, only 1 percent of cases are being treated, said Kazatchkine.

The emergence of MDR TB, which results from improper use of antibiotics to treat regular TB, such as failure to complete the standard six- to eight-month treatment regimen, poses a significant public health threat, particularly for countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence. People with HIV/AIDS are especially vulnerable to TB due to their compromised immune systems, and TB is the leading cause of death among these patients.

In addition, the cost of treating MDR TB is about 100 times that of regular TB treatment.

"The best way to prevent resistant TB is to get people to take the whole course of standard TB drugs," said Kazatchkine, while stressing the need to allocate more money to treat MDR TB.

Back to other news for August 2009

Excerpted from:
08.10.2009; Tan Ee Lyn

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.