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Lack of labs fueling spread of TB

Inadequate laboratory facilities in Asia and the Pacific are fueling

the spread of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, the World Health

Organization said. The WHO said Cambodia and the Philippines each have

only three laboratories able to diagnose multi-drug resistant TB.

“Countries need to do more than upgrade laboratories,” said Pieter Van

Maaren, WHO regional adviser for tuberculosis and leprosy. Undetected

and untreated, a TB patient can infect 10 to 15 people a year “simply

by coughing or sneezing,”  the WHO said. It added that the spread of

multi-drug resistant TB is every TB program’s nightmare because one

case can take up to two years to treat with drugs that have serious

side effects and cost 100 times more than the regular regimen of drugs.

(AFP)

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