New drug-resistant infection is 'nightmare' say health experts
Robin McKie, science editor -- The Observer
Sept 2, 2006 -- Health experts are to hold an emergency meeting in Johannesburg this week, following the discovery of a deadly new strain of tuberculosis.
The strain -- known as extreme drug-resistant TB -- has horrified World Health Organisation doctors. In one outbreak in South Africa, 52 of 53 patients died within weeks of becoming infected.
"This new strain leaves us facing a nightmare," said Paul Nunn, coordinator of the WHO's drug-resistance unit. "It is resistant to nearly every drug in our arsenal. We are now on the threshold of the appearance of a strain of TB that is resistant to every medicine known to science."
The strain was originally discovered by scientists earlier this year. They looked at cases of multiple drug-resistant TB -- which has developed over the past decade in many parts of the world -- and discovered that among these a worrying new 'extreme' strain had evolved.