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Drug Resistant TB Causes Concern


Aired 4/20/09

Cases of tuberculosis were down last year in California. But a drug-resistant strain of the disease is cause for concern. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

TB is a potentially deadly bacterial infection that is spread through the air. Last year California had just under 2,700 cases, 29 fewer than the year before. Modern medicine has dramatically reduced the incidence of tuberculosis. But a form of drug-resistant TB has raised new concerns. Barbara Cole is a board member of the American Lung Association in California.

"The World Health Organization reports that multi-drug resistant TB is at the highest rate ever in 2008," she said.

Drug resistant TB can be still be cured, but it requires more treatment time and a broader range of medications. California's infection rate for tuberculosis is 60 percent higher than the country as a whole, due largely to more immigration. Tom Fudge, KPBS News.


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