Russian MDR TB Crisis
Out of Control - 'Ebola With Wings'
LONDON (Reuters) - The international community must provide $100 million to prevent drug-resistant tuberculosis, or "ebola with wings," in Russia from spreading around the world, according to a British medial group..
"It is only a matter of time before drug-resistant tuberculosis from Russia becomes a daily reality in other countries worldwide," Dr. Nicolas Banatvala, of the Medical Emergency Relief International (MERLIN) said in a statement.
"Multidrug resistant TB is a deadly airborne infection: it has been called 'ebola with wings'."
The medical charity said the current levels of drug-resistant TB in Russia were terrifying and the economic crisis would exacerbate the problem.
"We are calling on the world community to provide $100 million to control tuberculosis in Russia. This cost is small compared to the loss of life and economic damage on a global scale that could happen if drug-resistant tuberculosis in Russia is not addressed now," Banatvala added.
MERLIN said a shortage of anti-TB drugs in Russia would lead to substandard treatment which would increase drug resistant strains.
Tuberculosis was nearly wiped out earlier this century, but the disease is re-emerging in some rich countries. Almost three-quarters of the world's sufferers are in Asia, with India the worst affected country.
The disease kills about three million people each year.