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SA Regime 'Responds Poorly
To XDR-TB Epidemic'-NY Times
By Adriana Stuijt
Exclusive to Rense.com
The New York Times reported recently that more than a year after a virulent and particularly deadly strain of tuberculosis started killing hundreds of people all over South Africa, experts here and abroad are warning that that country's Extremely-Drugs-Resistance Tuberculosis epidemic has 'more than likely spread to neighboring countries" -- and that urgent action is essential to halt its advance across the rest of the globe. The South African form of XDR-TB is a unique, mutant strain combining the TB bacillus with the Aids-virus and kills its sufferers within 14 to 20 days of infection.
Other XDR-TB outbreaks undetected 'because the patients die very quickly"...
Quote: "Because South Africa's treatment and reporting programs for tuberculosis are notoriously poor - barely half of TB patients are cured - virtually all experts contend the true rate of infection is much greater."
"We're really concerned that there may be similar outbreaks to the one in Tugela Ferry (KwaZulu-Natal province) that are currently going undetected because the patients die very quickly," said Dr. Karin Weyer, who directs tuberculosis programs for South Africa's Medical Research Council, a semiofficial research arm of the government.
Other researchers and experts share Dr. Weyer's concern. They say South African health officials have lagged badly in assembling the epidemiological studies, treatment programs and skilled clinicians needed to combat the outbreak, and say the SA government has responded slowly to international offers of help. the ANC-regime's sluggish response (to this latest health emergency) could prove hugely expensive to contain and could threaten many millions across sub-Saharan Africa."
Since the (start of the present epidemic) was first detected last year in KwaZulu-Natal Province additional cases have been found at 39 hospitals in South Africa's other eight provinces. In interviews with the New York Times, several epidemiologists and TB experts said the disease had 'probably moved into Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique - countries that share borders and migrant work forces with South Africa - and perhaps to Zimbabwe, which sends hundreds of thousands of destitute refugees to and from South Africa each year.'
But no one can say with certainty: none of those countries have the laboratories and clinical experts necessary to diagnose and track the disease. Ominously, none have the money and skills that would be needed to contain it should it begin to spread."
"We don't understand the extent of it, and whether it's more widespread than anyone thinks," Mario C. Raviglione, the director of the Stop TB Department of the World Health Organization in Geneva, said in a telephone interview. "And if we don't know what has caused it, then we don't know how to stop it."
The South African outbreak is considered far more alarming than those elsewhere, because it is not only far larger, but has surfaced at the center of the world's H.I.V. pandemic.
Two in three of the 6-million South African TB-sufferers are HIV+...
Although one third of the world's people, by W.H.O. estimates, are infected with dormant tuberculosis germs, the disease thrives when immune systems are weakened by H.I.V.
At least two in three South African TB sufferers are H.I.V. positive.
Should XDR TB gain a foothold in the H.I.V.-positive population, it could wreak havoc not only among the six million South Africans who carry the virus, but the tens of millions more throughout sub- Saharan Africa, the New York Times warned.
read the original story on following LINK:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/world/africa/28tuberculosis.html? ex=1183262400&en=aca1681ce4b13c55&ei=5070?



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