Tuesday, December 4, 2007

XDR-TB is taking its toll on patients

XDR-TB is taking its toll on patients
14 November 2007, 09:23
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By Louise FlanaganSouth Africa has identified 481 extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis patients so far - and nearly half have died.Statistics from the Department of Health show that 216 XDR-TB patients died by the end of last month, while almost 90 percent of the survivors - 235 - were in hospital. The department recorded just five patients who defaulted on treatment and three more who had not started treatment.Gauteng has seen 37 patients, or 8 percent of the total. Of these, 11 have died and 20 are being treated in hospitals.The biggest caseload is in KwaZulu Natal, the province where the disease was first identified in early 2005. It has seen 188 cases, or 39 percent of the country's total.The Eastern Cape has the second-highest burden, with 157 patients (33 percent), followed by the Western Cape with 64 (13 percent) and then Gauteng.The department said the statistics reflected only true XDR-TB cases.XDR-TB is TB which is resistant to the two first-line drugs used against TB plus at least two of the six main classes of second-line drugs.The Health Ministry emphasised yesterday that all confirmed XDR-TB patients would be admitted to multi-drug-resistant TB units until they tested negative, which usually took at least six months.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on November 14, 2007

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