XDR-TB in South Africa is largely spread person-to-person, not by failure of drug treatment

The vast majority of people with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) diagnosed in the world’s most extensive outbreak have acquired their infection from another person, not as the result of the failure of treatment for multidrug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (MDR-TB), N Sarita Shah told the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2015) in Seattle, USA, on Wednesday.
KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa has been the setting for a large outbreak of XDR-TB since 2006, when cases first began to be identified. XDR-TB is defined as a form of TB that is resistant to isoniazid and rifampicin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs.

Cape Town XDR-TB patient leads international campaign

A Cape Town survivor of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has taken her campaign for better access to testing and treatment from her hometown of Khayelitsha to Paris and beyond.

In August, 23-year-old Phumeza Tisile beat the odds and became one of only a few hundred South African who beat extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) each year. After an almost three-year battle with XDR-TB, Tisile has helped launch a campaign for better access to drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) testing and treatment.

New TB technology may be ready for clinics

New research has shown that rapid GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) test improves access to TB diagnosis and treatment, and may be ready for South African clinics.

Conducted in part by the University of Cape Town (UCT), the study looked at whether it was possible for nurses – instead of laboratory technicians – to administer the test in clinics in four countries, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

Council nod to little-tested killer-TB drug

The Medicines Control Council (MCC) has granted patients with extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) access to Johnson & Johnson’s experimental drug bedaquiline, even though it has yet to be registered in South Africa.

The death rate for patients with XDR-TB relying on current treatments is about 80%, according to Helen Cox, an epidemiologist with Médecins Sans Frontières in Cape Town.

The development follows an intense campaign by local activists and doctors, who have argued the drug represents the last hope for patients who do not respond to treatment. South Africa has one of the world’s highest numbers of patients with drug-resistant TB, fuelled by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Alarming levels of drug-resistant TB found worldwide

Scientists have found an alarming number of cases of the lung disease tuberculosis in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America that are resistant to up to four powerful antibiotic drugs.

In a large international study published in the Lancet medical journal on Thursday, researchers found rates of both multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) were higher than previously thought and were threatening global efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

Management of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis - Policy Guidelines

Published by: 
Department of Health (South Africa)

Key Issues in the Management of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

1. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is defined as tuberculosis (TB) disease where there is in vitro resistance to both isoniazid and rifampicin, with or without resistance to other anti-TB drugs. As isoniazid and rifampicin are the two most important first-line TB drugs, their removal through resistance from the anti-TB drug armamentarium has serious implications.

Policy on TB remains unchanged, says Health

The Department of Health says its policy on the treatment of Tuberculosis patients, especially those who have Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) and Extreme-Drug Resistant (XDR-TB), will not be changed in any way.

Not enough research to treat TB-HIV properly, say experts Anso Thom

Health systems cannot properly diagnose, treat, or contain the co-epidemic of HIV and tuberculosis (TB) because not enough is known about how the two diseases interact. A report by leading global health experts warned that the largely unnoticed collision of the global epidemics of HIV and TB has exploded to create a deadly co-epidemic that is rapidly spreading in sub-Saharan Africa.