Sunday, 16 September 2012


XDR-TB is the abbreviation for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). One in three people in the world is infected with dormant TB germs (i.e. TB bacteria). Bacteria become active as a result of anything that can reduce the person’s immunity, such as HIV, advancing age, or some medical conditions. TB can usually be treated with a course of four standard, or first-line, anti-TB drugs. If these drugs are misused or mismanaged, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) can develop. MDR-TB takes longer to treat with second-line drugs, which are more expensive and have more side-effects. XDR-TB can develop when these second-line drugs are also misused or mismanaged and therefore also become ineffective. Because XDR-TB is resistant to first- and second-line drugs, treatment options are seriously limited. It is therefore vital that TB control is managed properly. 1

With a population of about 1.2 billion, India is the largest country in the region and the largest TB burden country in the world in terms of absolute numbers of incident cases that emerge each year and it contributed one-fourth of the estimated global TB cases in 2010. India had an estimated 63,000 cases of notified multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in 2010, the highest in the South East Asia region, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) cases have also been reported from India.  2

Enforcement of regulations for prescription and sale of anti-TB drugs, promoting rational use of first-and second-line anti-TB drugs outside the programme to prevent MDR and XDR-TB are some of the major challenges for India.2


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