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Fight against TB requires ‘visionary leadership’

By Tim Sandle     Mar 25, 2013 in Science
An international group of doctors and scientists have stated that a ‘visionary leadership’ is needed to tackle the renewed global risk of tuberculosis.
In a letter to the medical journal Lancet medical journal, a group of scientists have said the world’s governments were "complacent" and "neglectful" in relation to the risk that tuberculosis poses.
The letter, written by Professor Alimuddin Zumla, from University College London and other experts, states that "TB is a time bomb. If you don't curtail it now it will be out of control."
Tuberculosis or 'TB' is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air
According to the World Health Organization around nine million people become sick and around 1.4 million die from tuberculosis each year.
This letter has been issued a few days after the Digital Journal reported that the World Health Organization had declared that the global fund to fight tuberculosis was woefully short of what was needed.
One of the main concerns is that many countries are facing problems with drug resistance, with many first-choice antibiotics no longer working against some strains of the tuberculosis bacterium. One issue is with a strain called XDR tuberculosis, which is resistant to even more TB drugs. This is given a key mention in the Lancet letter:
"The widespread emergence of XDR tuberculosis could lead to virtually untreatable tuberculosis. With the ease of international travel and increased rates of MDR in eastern Europe, central Asia and elsewhere, the threat and range of untreatable tuberculosis is very real."
A series on tuberculosis is being published by the Lancet Journal of Infectious Diseases, to mark World TB Day, which was on March 24 2013, according to the India Express.
More about Tuberculosis, Tb, world health, Bacteria, Infection
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