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MDR TB Found In 200 Kenyans
By Adriana Stuijt
Exclusive to Rense.com
Kenyan Journalists Samuel Otieno and Edith Fortunate of the Eastern Standard in Nairobi reported on July 30 2007 about 'the TB strain that is resistant to drugs, and renewed prevention and treatment efforts being undertaken by the Kenyan government'. This is a summary of their report:
July 30 2007 -- Kenya. "More than 200 people infected with highly contagious multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are living amongst us. The fact that the public and the victims are unaware of the looming danger of spiraling infection is sending shivers among experts. '
In 2005, Kenya's official statistics showed that it had 115,234 registered cases of 'ordinary TB' of which 52% were HIV-Positive and eleven percent had been children. the journalists quoted a local advisor, Ms Ida Jooste as saying that the current 'hotspots' of the currently identified MDR-TB cases in Kenya are in Nairobi, Coast and Kusumu.
"To assuage the situation, the (Kenyan) government has identified 40 of these victims who will undergo treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Doctors at the largest referral hospital in East and Central Africa will from next month start administering the treatment, the first of its kind in the country. (...)
The journalists also write that with the 'model MDR-TB treatment set to start in a week's time, hope for hundreds of TB patients would be rejuvenated. "
"At the national hospital in Nairobi, medical workers have received training in handling MDR-TB patients, including detection, isolation and treatment. Isolation has especially been emphasised, and patients would be placed in separate rooms to eliminate infection."
The Kenyan government requires that those TB victims come to health facilities accompanied by close relatives, who would keep track of the treatment record, the journalists also noted.
"But in this ray of hope lies a dark stripe. Early this year, an international medical organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, released a report showing that treatment will succeed in barely more than half of the MDR-TB patients. MSF notes that 'with the available tools, a losing battle is being fought. Current research efforts are not keeping pace with the need for better tests, drugs and vaccines despite the urgency of the situation. Most would develop extensive drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) 'regardless of the quality of care, as insufficient research and development on new drugs and diagnostics has left health staff without the right tools to treat the disease. When resistance of major TB drugs emerges, doctors are forced to use the older, less effective medicines."
Local medical experts warn that the region is not yet prepared to deal with XDR-TB, which has claimed more than 100 lives in South Africa. The disease kills more than 95 per cent of its victims, even under the most advanced medical care, experts say.
LINK to original story:
http://www.eastandard.net:80/hm_news/news.php? articleid=1143972082&catid=4?


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