Multidrug resistant strain of tuberculosis creating particular risks says UN envoy

Jorge Sampaio, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Stop Tuberculosis, told reporters in New York that the strain – known as MDR-TB – is becoming prevalent, with about 400,000 cases reported in 2006, the most recent year for which global figures are available.Detailing the latest reports on efforts to fight TB, Mr. Sampaio said that only about 10 per cent of all MDR-TB sufferers are likely to be treated this year because of a lack of treatment and laboratory capacity worldwide.Overall, TB is still killing around 4,500 people every day, with the epidemic fuelled by the fact that a sufferer is increasingly likely to be co-infected with HIV as well.“The lethal combination of HIV and TB” is emerging especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and in 2006 there were 700,000 cases of TB among people living with HIV worldwide.The envoy, who spoke to journalists a day after the UN marked World TB Day, called on international leaders to redouble their efforts against TB and to ensure that the fight against HIV/AIDS is increasingly interlinked with the fight against TB so that there is a coordinated approach, from the use of prescription drugs to forms of treatment.He stressed the importance of the Global Leaders Forum on HIV/TB that is being organized by the UN and other international organizations on 9 June in New York. 25 March 2008The multi-drug resistant form of tuberculosis is reaching its highest levels ever recorded and overwhelming the ability of health-care systems around the world to treat sufferers, the United Nations envoy for efforts to fight the disease said today, calling for more resources and attention worldwide to be focused to combating the emerging strain.

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