Indian, WHO Officials To Meet To Discuss Managing Cases Of Highly Drug-Resistant TB

Health officials from India and the WHO are scheduled to meet in Mumbai on Tuesday to discuss how to manage the cases of at least 12 patients infected with a highly drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) strain, Bloomberg reports (Narayan, 1/17). “The ‘totally drug-resistant’ tuberculosis (TDR-TB) reportedly emerging in India is actually an advanced stage of drug-resistant TB, which researchers called totally drug-resistant for lack of a better term,” IRIN notes (1/17).

The WHO “hasn’t accepted the term and still considers the cases to be what’s now called extensively drug-resistant TB, or XDR. However, Dr. Paul Nunn, a coordinator at the WHO’s Stop TB Department in Geneva, said there is ample proof that these virtually untreatable cases do exist,” the Associated Press writes (Stobbe/Naqvi, 1/16). According to IRIN, the “WHO is convening a meeting of TB experts in March to consider whether a new TB definition is needed” (1/17). In a recent briefing note, the WHO said, “If ‘totally drug-resistant’ TB defines a subset of XDR-TB with different characteristics to other XDR-TB cases, particularly with respect to the outcome of such cases, then an internationally recognized definition may be needed” (January 2012).

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