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New TB Pandemic Fear January 22, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Life, News.

The dilemma of a deadly disease: patients may be forcibly detained | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited
More than 300 cases of the highly infectious disease, which is spread by airborne droplets and kills 98% of those infected within about two weeks, have been identified in South Africa.

But doctors believe there have been hundreds, possibly thousands, more and the numbers are growing among the millions of people with HIV, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Their fear is that patients with XDR-TB, told that there is little that can be done for them, will leave the isolation wards and go home to die. But while they are still walking around they risk spreading the infection.

Now a group of doctors has warned in a medical journal that if enforced isolation is not introduced XDR-TB could swamp South Africa and spread far beyond its borders. Regular TB is already the single largest killer of people with Aids in South Africa.

Jerome Amir Singh of the Centre for Aids Programme of Research in South Africa and two colleagues wrote in the peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science Medicine that the government must overcome its understandable qualms over human rights in the interests of the majority. Without exceptional control measures, including enforced isolation, XDR-TB “could become a lethal global pandemic”, they say.

Virulent TB in South Africa May Imperil Millions


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