CDC researchers are studying strains of drug-resistant tuberculosis, and they predict the number of these TB cases will see a steady rise.
Researchers predict that these complicated and potentially fatal drug-resistant cases of TB will become far more common in the Philippines, South Africa, India, and Russia by the year 2040. Russia is predicted to see the largest increase followed by India, then the Philippines, and finally South Africa.
According to Peter Cegielski, who works for the CDC’s Global TB Branch, anticipates that drug-resistant cases will make up to 30 percent of cases in Russia, where as India and the Philippines will see increases of 10 percent, and South Africa will be around five percent.
He also adds that some of these new strains aren’t responding to any antibiotics and have a 100 percent mortality rate, others are requiring up to two years of treatment involving daily injections of highly toxic medication that can cause hearing loss or even psychosis. Regular TB is difficult enough to treat taking six to nine months worth of treatment.
What raises concerns is that TB highly contagious and the bacteria can be transmitted through the air.
“It’s airborne [and] bacilli can remain suspended in the room for hours depending on the ventilation,” says Cegielski. “So anybody in the room can be exposed and infected. And it doesn’t have to be a room, it can be any enclosed environment — a store, a bus, any place like that.”
Because treatment is so complex, and many facilities in less developed areas have either rudimentary or non-existent ventilation systems, Cegielski stresses that preventative measures are paramount.
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