Mon Jan 19, 2015, 04:06 PM

Soviet Union fall helped drug-resistant TB to take off

Analysing this data, the authors found that the population size of the non-drug-resistant form of the Beijing lineage had been relatively stable for several hundred years, before expanding sharply from the early 1820s until the mid-1840s. The researchers blame this on the industrial revolution in the West, when large numbers of people began living together in unsanitary and crowded conditions, which helps to spread TB.

There was another sharp expansion around the time of the first world war. "If people are weak or tired or lack food, this weakens the body, making them more susceptible" says Wirth. The population shrank around the 1960s, when antibiotics for TB were introduced. But shortly after that, the genes that confer drug resistance emerged. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics when people take their drugs intermittently or do not finish the course of treatment. Around the 1990s, the downward trend went into reverse, and although numbers have not yet climbed back to pre-antibiotic levels.

As well as the rise in HIV, which makes people more susceptible to TB, the authors attribute the recent surge to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which has a well-known major problem with MDR TB. The social upheaval would have made it hard for people to access long courses of expensive drugs, and the region's jails are hotspots of drug resistance, says Wirth. "In jails drug treatment has been irregular and not of best quality," he says.

Russia and Eastern Europe still have high rates of MDR TB today. Spiro says that many of the cases he sees in London, the TB capital of Europe, can be traced back to those countries. "The control over treatment regimes out there is dreadful," he says. "It's chaos." The number of MDR cases has been rising in England from 28 cases per year in 2000 to 81 cases in 2012.

While ordinary TB can be cured in 6 months, people with MDR TB must take different drugs that also have side effects such as liver and nerve damage, for one to two years; even then they have only a 50 per cent chance of a cure. "Patients often die from it," says Spiro.

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Reply Soviet Union fall helped drug-resistant TB to take off (Original post)
Troll2 Jan 2015 OP
Attera Jan 2015 #1

Response to Troll2 (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 04:23 PM

1. The whole East Europe is TB reservoir.


This is the reason I avoid public transportation while visiting there. Scary, to say the least.
Of course , there is not much you can do if you're stuck on a plane with an active TB individual. Sure, you can bring an n95 mask with you, but last I heard the airlines wouldn't let you wear them without a medical reason ( such as being neutropenic)

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