Washington: One third of the world`s population is suffering from tuberculosis, and the disease could become incurable if governments fail to act, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.Dearth of funding for public health programmes, the sale of inaccurate blood tests and the misuse of drugs, especially in the private health sector, are hampering the fight against the disease and leading to drug resistance, says the organisation.Extreme drug-resistant strains of TB have now been found in 70 countries, and doctors in India reported four patients this year, who did not respond to any drugs at all. Doctors in Iran and Italy have also found patients who are apparently resistant to all drugs.“What we are seeing worldwide is the emergence of strains of the bacillus causing tuberculosis that are resistant to most of the drugs we have available,” the Independent quoted Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO`s Stop TB campaign, as saying.The rate of TB deaths had declined drastically – by 40 per cent between 1990 and 2000 – after a worldwide health campaign, which was particularly successful in China. But the emergence of drug-resistant strains threatens to arrest progress and jeopardises the WHO`s goal of eradicating the disease as a public health problem by 2050.Drug resistance is increasing as doctors are failing to prescribe the right number of drugs or because patients do not succeed in finishing the course of antibiotics.
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