- LONDON (Reuters) - British, American and French doctors warned Wednesday
"it's only a matter of time" before tuberculosis in Russia spreads
to the rest of the world.
- "It is only a matter of time before
drug-resistant tuberculosis of Russian origin becomes a reality in other
countries worldwide," Dr. Nicholas Banatvala, of Medical Emergency
Relief International (MERLIN), said.
- In a statement issued jointly with Medicins
Sans Frontieres and the New York Health Research Institute, the British
charity called for the world community to provide funds to combat the crisis.
- All three organizations are piloting
modern TB treatments in Russia.
- "Current levels of drug-resistant
tuberculosis in Russia are alarming and the economic crisis will exacerbate
the problem many times over. In our view, this local humanitarian disaster
has reached the proportions of a direct global public health threat,"
- MERLIN estimates that the emergency program
for Russia would cost about $100 million, adding that the sum is small
in comparison to the number of deaths that will occur if the problem is
- Tuberculosis is an airborne infection
that kills three million people each year. New drug-resistant strains are
emerging and the disease has reached epidemic proportions in many poor
- After nearly being wiped out, it is also
re-emerging in some rich countries.
- MERLIN said the shortage of anti-TB drugs
in Russia will lead to substandard antibiotic treatment that will increase