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Deadly TB Strain Found in South Africa

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  • Deadly TB Strain Found in South Africa

    Deadly TB Strain Found in South Africa
    By MARIA CHENG (AP Medical Writer)
    From Associated Press
    September 01, 2006 1:10 PM EDT
    LONDON - A new, deadly strain of tuberculosis has killed 52 of 53 people infected in the last year in South Africa, the World Health Organization said Friday, calling for improved measures to treat and diagnose the virus.
    The strain was discovered in the Kwazulu-Natal region of South Africa, and is classified as extremely drug-resistant. Drugs from three of the six second-line medicines, used as a last line of defense against TB, proved ineffective against the new strain.
    "We are extremely worried about the issue of extreme drug resistance," said Paul Nunn, coordinator of the WHO's drug resistance department. "If countries don't have the diagnostic capacity to find these patients, they will die without proper treatment."
    Though even the most drug-resistant strains of TB have proven to be treatable with three classes of drugs, those drugs are more expensive and are toxic to the human body.