Untreatable Tuberculosis Running Rampant in South Africa?

south africa, tuberculosis, illness

The spreading of a form of tuberculosis that is considered basically untreatable is running rampant in in South Africa by the release of disease-ridden patients out into the general public, reports a new research study. Scientists were tracking nearly 110 patients who were suffering from a type of extremely drug-resistant TB, also known as XDR-TB. They were following the patients in a trio of South African provinces between the years of 2008 and 2012.

Even though the majority of sick individuals were being treated with at least eight to nine different TB drugs, about 80 of them died. Over 40 of the others were then released out of the hospitals without any other further kind of monitoring whatsoever. Tuberculosis is an extremely infectious bacterial disease that most often attacks the lungs and is most usually spread by sneezing, spitting and coughing.

In one of the cases of a patient that was let go, DNA testing established that a discharged patient ended up passing on the deadly drug-resistant strain to a family member and they both eventually perished due to it without either one ever coming back to a hospital.

Researchers has stated that the hospitals released the patients, who had the deadly strain of tuberculosis, on an extensive level in South Africa because there were very few existing beds in the TB hospitals or any of the nursing care homes.

What is very alarming is that the diseased patients usually survive out in the community for almost two years. That is more than enough time to go around and infect a number of other individuals. When people with TB spit, sneeze or cough, they send the drug-resistant tuberculosis microbes out into the air. All that any other person has to do to become infected is to breathe in just a few of these infected germs and he or she can become sick to become infected. They then are able to continue the chain of spreading XDR-TB all around the community, stated a worker at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, who was in charge of the TB study.

The research was printed Friday in the journal, Lancet. The entire situation is tragic and very disturbing, added the worker, who said that modern sanatoriums must be erected immediately so the TB patients can be treated and cared for away from the general public.

South Africa suffers from the highest number of patients with XDR-TB on Earth and health officials are now warning that there are other drug resistant forms of the disease beginning to spread around at an alarming rate. This is being found mostly in central and eastern China, Indian, Europe, and Africa.

The research has called drug-resistant TB as a problem which has become completely out of control. There are possible looming consequences for devastating and wide devastation for worldwide public health. Globally, TB experts believe that only around one in five individuals who suffer from the drug-resistant TB have been treated or even diagnosed.

This spreading of untreatable drug-resistant XDR-TB in South Africa by the release of disease-ridden patients out into the general public, is a global disaster in the making.


By Kimberly Ruble


The Washington Post

Medscape News

The World Bulletin

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