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World TB Day: Drug-resistant TB spreading

  |   March 24, 2010 at 6:20 PM
BETHESDA, Md., March 24 (UPI) -- One-third of the world's population -- 2 billion people -- are believed to have the organism that causes tuberculosis, U.S. health officials say.

Christine F. Sizemore, chief of the Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases Section in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said, "As we commemorate World TB Day … despite progress toward improved control of TB, significant challenges remain to reach the goals set forth in the Global Plan to Stop TB -- www.stoptb.org/global/plan/ -- as this effort reaches its midpoint."

"TB is especially dangerous and is becoming more prevalent among people who have certain other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes. In 2008, about 1.8 million people died of TB, including an estimated 520,000 people co-infected with HIV," Sizemore and Fauci said in a statement.

"Globally, TB is the leading cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS, and HIV greatly increases the risk of developing active TB."

Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB are spreading amid an already overwhelming burden of drug-sensitive TB and HIV/AIDS, particularly in resource-poor nations.

"Interventions that have worked in the past to control TB globally must now be re-assessed and tailored for individual regions," the health officials say. "The need to adapt and innovate also holds true for biomedical research in TB."

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