The largest ever survey of drug-resistant tuberculosis has unveiled "worrying" levels of the disease, with health experts warning that the issue is a global problem.
Patients in former Soviet states such as Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan and Estonia are 10 times more likely to have multi-drug resistant TB than in the rest of the world, reveals the World Health Organization report. The new report also reveals disturbing levels in China.
"The crucial thing to bear in mind with TB is this is an airborne infectious disease," says Paul Sommerfeld, chair of UK charity TB Alert. "It's not possible to isolate any one part of the world from the rest of the world."
The WHO is calling for an urgent expansion of TB control measures, including drug resistance surveillance and investment in DOTS, a WHO-inspired treatment strategy.
"It is in the interest of every country to support rapid scale-up of TB control if we are to overcome multi-drug resistant TB," says Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Stop TB department. "Passport control will not halt drug resistance; investment in global TB prevention will."
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