A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides compelling evidence that drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is set to rise over the next two decades in countries with some of the world’s highest TB burdens. Drug-resistant TB is a major problem worldwide—and on track to get even worse. In addition to infecting two billion people worldwide, TB can also become drug-resistant, which means the drugs we rely on to treat the disease are no longer effective. Drug-resistant TB is found in every country in the world and can kill millions if left unchecked or undiagnosed. The study also suggests that person-to-person transmission, rather than inadequate treatment, will likely play an increasingly larger role in the spread of the disease in the future. The paper underlines the importance of working together to strengthen infection control measures and intensify contact tracing to stop transmission from person to person; focus on stopping spread of TB in households, health centers, and communities; and develop more effective diagnostic tests to rapidly and accurately detect drug-resistant TB.
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