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Drug-resistant tuberculosis strains gain foothold in Russia

Russia’s daunting number of new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) may be on the rise. Despite advances in detection and treatment of the disease, a new model predicts that the country will have a massive problem with MDR strains of TB by 2040 unless the country overhauls its response to the disease. 

Incidence of multidrug-resistant TB

Nearly 40% of the world’s drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections already occur in Russia, South Africa, India, and the Philippines. By 2040, the modelers suggest this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, MDR strains will become more common in each of those countries, making up nearly one in 10 cases in India and the Philippines and nearly one in three in Russia.

Incidence of extensively multidrug-resistant TB

Of those, almost 10% will be extensively drug-resistant strains, which are even harder to treat (and often require painful injections, above). The study suggests most new cases will be the result of infection rather than new mutations that occur in people with ineffective treatment.