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Sounding the Alarm on the Rapid Spread of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

A busy market in New Delhi
A busy market in New DelhiPhotograph by Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Widespread improper prescription and usage of antibiotics has given rise to drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, badly straining the health-care systems of developing countries. A report from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) examines the rates of tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment in eight countries with high disease burdens—Brazil, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Russia, South Africa, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe—and found minimal compliance with World Health Organization guidelines for containing further spread of the disease.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) “is a manmade disaster, born out of years of neglect and driven by a slow and piecemeal global response,” Dr. Petros Isaakidis, MSF India medical epidemiologist and senior operational research fellow, said in a statement. According to World Health Organization estimates, less than one-third of DR-TB cases worldwide are diagnosed in a timely manner, and less than a fifth receive proper treatment.