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Patients with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis more likely to die

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Patients with a highly resistant form of tuberculosis are less likely to respond to treatment and more than three times more likely to die than those with a less resistant form of the disease, a study has shown.
Researchers in South Korea studied medical records of 1,407 patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) admitted to hospital for treatment between January 2000 and December 2002.

Of these, 5.3% had extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).
In the XDR-TB group, only 29.3% of patients had a treatment success, compared with 26.2% in the MDR-TB group.

Patients with XDR-TB were 3.25 times more likely to die overall and 4.45 times more likely to die of TB-related causes.

TB expert Giovanni Battista Migliori, of the WHO Collaborating Centre for TB and Lung Diseases in Tradate, Italy, said that new drugs must be found to help eliminate TB.

‘Regrettably, a new drug [to treat TB] has not been licensed in decades," he said.

‘As we wait for new diagnostics and drugs that can meet the challenge of XDR-TB, we must work with what we presently have to create the optimal conditions for success and thus seize the opportunity we have to eliminate tuberculosis,’ he said.

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2008) 178: 1075-1082
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