Tuberculosis has ravaged the world for centuries. It is as old as the Pharaohs of Egypt and has been found in the spines of mummies. Tuberculosis is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer due to a single infectious agent. In 2011 alone, there were an estimated 8.7 million new cases of TB and 1.4 million people died from TB according to the WHO. Although TB mortality rates have fallen 40% since the 1990’s, the world is facing a new epidemic, and it’s just as insidiously veiled as an old one.
Drug Resistant TB (DR-TB) is a very real threat, which has the potential to affect global TB control. The disease has grown stronger and the bacteria are now showing resistance to even the best drugs available in the market. This new strand of TB can take years and thousands of dollars to cure.
Another worrying fact for us is that at the end of 2011 India, China and Russia accounted for about 60% of the global burden of M DR-TB. Also between 2008(where 9 states were surveyed for DR-TB) and 2012 only one extra state has been surveyed according to the 2012 report of the WHO.