Researchers found that 50 percent of deceased patients at a hospital in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal were infected with active tuberculosis, and 17 percent of those with active TB had a multi-drug resistant strain, according to a PLoS Medicine study published on Tuesday, Nature News reports (Maxmen, 6/23). Post-mortem examinations of 240 patients, who were between the ages of 20 to 45 and died in either 2008 or 2009, revealed that 94 percent of them were also HIV-positive, according to IRIN. Study co-author Douglas Wilson, head of medicine at Edendale Hospital said, "We were absolutely staggered by the amount of TB we found" (6/23).
According to a PLoS press release, the "findings suggest that improving the early diagnosis of tuberculosis, for example, routine screening for tuberculosis among HIV-positive patients, and speedier initiation of treatment for both tuberculosis and HIV could reduce the global death toll from tuberculosis" (6/22). Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO Stop TB Partnership said of the study, "It confirms that over the last few years, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis has become rampant in people living with HIV [in Africa]," Nature News reports (6/23). According to IRIN, South Africa recently revised its HIV, TB treatment guidelines (6/23).
Back to other news for June 2010
This information was reprinted from kff.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.