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Drug-resistant tuberculosis cases surge in Hanoi
Publication Date : 31-07-2014
The number of people suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in Ha Noi has spiked, according to the Ha Noi Lung Hospital.
Back in 2011, the hospital received about 60 patients with MDR TB. This year, that number has increased to more than 160.
The hospital's deputy director Vu Cao Cuong told the Kinh te & do thi (Economic and Urban) newspaper that each year more than 5,000 TB patients were being discovered in Ha Noi, with 80 per cent of them suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis.
It was the main source of the disease's spread in the community, he said.
Meanwhile, health experts have attributed the surge in MDR TB cases to the prolonged exposure of drugs to the bacteria which has led to multidrug-resistance.
Patients were also failing to strictly adhere to prescribed treatments; either by stopping use of the drugs or not using them in the right quantities. Some patients found they showed signs of recovery after a period of using the drugs, causing them to stop use of the drugs, experts said.
Additionally, patients may have become susceptible by inhaling traces of the multidrug-resistant bacteria from other patients, causing the bacteria to quickly develop in their bodies.
Cuong said that TB treatment was expensive and MDR TB treatment was much more expensive, adding that the treatment could last for up to two years.
MDR TB requires a different strand of drugs to be treated and carry a number of side-effects. The treatment would be more complicated and require closer supervision, he said.
However, TB drugs for adults and TB vaccines for children were currently available free-of-charge, said Cuong, adding that patients received treatment based on the Directly Observed Treatment Short course.
By the end of this year, the country could expect to be using a new drug to treat MDR TB patients, he said.