ANCHOR LEAD: EXTREMELY DRUG RESISTANT TB IS OFTEN FATAL, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Tuberculosis now comes in at least three strains: garden variety TB, multidrug resistant TB, and extremely drug resistant TB, commonly referred to as XDRTB. This last form is the one a man who traveled extensively by air last week is infected with, and it does pose a risk. Richard Chaisson, a TB expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.
CHAISSON: Regular tuberculosis can be treated with a number of antibiotics and we have four that we commonly use that are very effective. Multidrug resistant TB or MDRTB canít be treated with the four main drugs, the first line drugs, that we have, so we have to use second line drugs that are more expensive, more toxic, and not as effective. XDRTB or extensively drug resistant TB is resistant to the second line drugs making it extraordinarily difficult to treat. :29
Chaisson says early diagnosis and treatment is key, but XDRTB still kills the majority of those infected with it. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.