by Michael Woodhead
The emergence of strains of tuberculosis that show multiple resistance to almost all available anti-TB drugs is causing great concern among Chinese clinicians.
A study of more than 200 patients with tuberculosis in Harbin has found that one in four patients had tuberculosis that was resistant to at least one drug, and more than one in twenty had extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) that was untreatable by commonly used anti-TB drugs such as isoniazid, rifampin, ethambutol, streptomycin, ofloxacin, and kanamycin.
Dr Yang Ying and colleagues from Harbin University of Science and Technology found that 26.3% of tuberculosis patients had isolates that showed resistance to at least one drug, while multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) was seen in 6.8%of patients (3% of newly diagnosed patients and 22% of previously treated cases).
"The results of this analysis of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis reflect the
situation in a local hospital and indicate that the morbidity related to
TB, especially MDR-TB, is still a serious health problem. Thus, the
timely detection of drug resistance is of great importance to optimize
treatment and to direct infection control measures to block the
transmission of MDR-TB."
The results are published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.