Indian doctors have reported the country’s first case of totally drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB).
This form of the disease has long been feared and is virtually untreatable. A small number of cases of this form of the lung disease have previously been reported in Italy and Iran but experts believe there could be many undocumented cases.
Drug-resistant TB usually develops when people with the condition have their treatment interrupted or their dose cut down. When this happens, the bacteria mutate into a tougher strain of the infection that can no longer be killed by standard drugs.
There is still debate about whether to label TB infections as totally drug-resistant. The World Health Organization (WHO) hasn’t accepted the term and still considers cases to be extremely drug-resistant TB. The WHO have released a Question and Answer document to help explain their position in response to this latest news.
Doctors in India have reported a total of 12 patients who failed initial treatment and also didn’t respond to the medicines tried next over an average of two-to-three years. The doctors are blaming private doctors for prescribing inappropriate drug plans that sparked greater resistance in some of the patients.