Drug-resistant TB cases rise

Cases of drug-resistant TB are on the increase in the UK, fuelled by rising immigration levels, say UK researchers.

A Health Protection Agency (HPA) team examined 28,620 cases of TB infection in the UK between 1998 and 2005.

It found that the proportion of cases of TB resistant to first-line drugs isoniazid and rifampicin rose from 5.6 per cent to 7.9 per cent.

Researchers say that many of the patients who developed resistant TB came from sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent, where they may have developed immunity to the drugs.

The HPA concluded that rapid testing of susceptibility to drugs, better surveillance and additional support services to ensure that patients complete treatment are needed to lower levels of resistant TB.

BMJ Online 2008

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