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Highest ever level of multidrug-resistant TB

WHO’s 2010 Global Report on tuberculosis (TB) says that 28 percent of all new cases in Murmansk Region in 2008 were multidrug-resistant. That is the highest fraction recorded in a region world-wide.

Murmansk tops the list of regions with recorded multidrug-resistant new TB-cases with 28,3 percent followed by Arkhangelsk region with  23,8 percent multidrug-resistant TB among new cases, the WHO report reads. Drug-resistance means that the patients can no longer be treated with standard drug regimens.

A total of 114 countries have reported first-line drug resistance data on tuberculosis. In Russia, multidrug-resistance TB is declining in most regions, except in the Northwest, and especially in the two biggest counties of the Barents Region; Murmansk and Arkhangelsk.

According to the WTO report, the tuberculosis programmes face tremendous challenges in reducing multidrug resistance rates.

A total of 290 new serious TB cases were reported in Arkhangelsk in 2008 of which 69 were multidrug resistant. In Murmansk 173 new cases were reported of which 49 were multidrug resistant.

The WHO report says the collapse of the Soviet Union caused a decline in the quality of tuberculosis treatment. Many patients are being treated with only one or two drugs, which promote the emergence of resistant bacterial strains.

TB bacteria are classified as multi-drug resistant if the two first-line TB drugs isoniazid and rifampicin fail to check their growth. They are classified as extensively drug-resistant if they are also resistant to the effects of injectable drugs used in second-line treatment as well as the entire fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics.


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