Health risk Multi-resistant tuberculosis

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Multi-resistant tuberculosis becomes "real health problem"

According to experts, many countries are poorly equipped to fight resistant tuberculosis pathogens, which can no longer be treated with conventional drugs.

Patients are simply being sent home because of a lack of rooms. Experts are concerned: According to their assessment, many countries around the world are poorly equipped to fight tuberculosis. As the managing director of the German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Aid DAHW, Burkard Kömm, told the dpa news agency, there are more and more cases of a multi-resistant type of the disease. Since there is not enough room to isolate the sick, especially in poorer countries, patients are often simply sent home and spread the pathogen further.

"This is really going to be a health problem" DAHW President Gudrun Freifrau von Wiedersperg said: "It will really be a health problem." Kömm explained that 60 percent of all new tuberculosis cases in Western Uzbekistan have meanwhile been caused by resistant pathogens. "Of course, this wave will eventually spill towards Western Europe - although we are probably very well protected with our good immune system."

Effective drugs do not work on resistant pathogens In the case of tuberculosis, which is triggered by a bacterium, the lungs are usually affected. The two most effective drugs do not work in multidrug-resistant pathogens and treatment is then difficult, as Kömm explained. Diseased patients would then have to be isolated and take an antibiotic mix with serious side effects for months. Therefore, therapy should only be started if the person concerned can be admitted to the hospital for half a year. Otherwise there is a risk that the patient will stop taking the medication because of the side effects, "and then you will have totally resistant tuberculosis." In a country such as Nigeria, however, there are only 80 suitable places and hundreds of patients on the waiting list.

Tuberculosis is the world's deadliest infectious disease
To date, tuberculosis has been relatively widespread, especially in Asia, Africa and the Eastern European countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 450,000 people fell ill with multi-resistant tuberculosis in 2012. Worldwide, a total of 8.6 million people were infected with the disease, and 1.3 million died. In Germany, the problem is relatively minor, but according to the Robert Koch Institute, the infection rate is also increasing among children in Germany. According to the latest figures, around 4,300 people contracted tuberculosis in 2011 and 162 died of it. In a global comparison, Germany is doing relatively well with an average of 5.3 cases reported per 100,000 inhabitants. (ad)

Image: Gerd Altmann / (image is a tracing)

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