In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine , scientists presented evidence that tuberculosis XDR TB with resistance to drugs in KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa, is transmitted from person to person. A study conducted by a team of scientists from Emory University in the United States, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
South Africa is experiencing a tuberculosis XDR TB epidemic, the deadliest form of the disease. The study showed that 69 per cent of infections in areas with high levels of HIV infection occurs through contact of people, and not because of the low level of health care in South Africa. With the help of social network analysis, scientists have identified numerous opportunities to transfer not only in hospitals but also in the public institutions.
"The findings give an idea of why the epidemic continues despite measures to improve the treatment of tuberculosis in the past decade. The study is aimed at identifying and implementing new or additional measures that will stop the transmission of the virus in hospitals and public institutions ", - said Neil R. Gandhi, MD, associate professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health.
The study involved 404 patients with XDR TB in KwaZulu-Natal. Scientists have studied the role of transmission by combining genotyping methods and using epidemiological analysis. Research is the first of its kind and combines methods for the study of the transmission XDR TB in high morbidity.
"These results - further proof that we need to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis, - said Tom Frieden, one of the researchers. - The only way to stop the disease - to improve infection control and to find an efficient and fast method of therapy. "
Tuberculosis, drug resistance has become a global epidemic, reported in 105 countries. Form XDR TB is resistant to the four major anti-TB drugs. The treatment gives the result of less than 40 percent of the cases and the mortality rate is 80 per cent of HIV-infected patients.
In resource-limited settings is not easy to take measures to prevent the spread of disease, such as contact tracing, infection control, improved ventilation in hospitals and better training for health professionals.
The study's authors believe that to break the cycle of disease transmission with drug resistance requires attention and effort, including support for the identification and effective treatment of patients suffering from tuberculosis programs.