NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 27, 2008

A dangerous form of tuberculosis (TB), MDR-TB, that is resistant to the most powerful drugs available is spreading rapidly around the world as efforts to combat it are lagging behind, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

Other major findings:

  • Globally, about 500,000 new cases of MDR-TB are diagnosed every year, making up about 5 percent of the nine million new TB cases.
  • The highest rate of MDR-TB infection was in Baku, Azerbaijan, where 22 percent of all new TB cases were found to be multidrug-resistant.
  • Rates in parts of the former Soviet Union have reached the highest levels ever recorded; MDR-TB cases made up 19 percent of all new TB diagnoses in Moldova; 16 percent in Donetsk, Ukraine; 15 percent in Russia's Tomsk region; and 15 percent in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

And that might not even be the whole picture, the WHO cautioned.  Only six countries in Africa, the region of the world with the highest incidence of TB, were able to provide data about drug resistance.

Source: Betsy McKay, "Drug-Resistant TB Is Spreading Around the World," Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2008.

For text: 

For report:


Browse more articles on Health Issues