Management of TB cases falls short of international standards

The management of tuberculosis cases in the European Union (EU) is not meeting international standards, according to new research.

The research, published online ahead of print in the , has identified key areas of priority for public action to combat the growing number of drug-resistant tuberculosis cases.

The (WHO) estimates a prevalence of 440,000 multidrug-resistant TB cases (MDR-TB) with 150,000 deaths and 50,000 extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) cases. The emergence of resistant forms of tuberculosis can in part be attributed to the of the disease.

To help understand how these forms of the disease have emerged, the authors aimed to evaluate the extent of inappropriate TB case management in Europe. To achieve this they conducted a survey, funded by the European Centre for and Control (ECDC). The survey included questions devised by an and compared the answers to a number of internationally recognised guidelines on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

The study used data on 200 from five TB reference institutes in five EU countries. The findings revealed that standards are not being adequately met in both the treatment and monitoring of patients.

10% of patients were prescribed less than the four drugs which are recommended and were therefore not sufficiently treated. Furthermore, various errors were identified in the doses of anti-TB drugs which were prescribed. The results also highlighted that patients infected with HIV alongside TB were not satisfactorily managed in almost 34% of cases.

For the monitoring of patients, there was a lack of information on the health of discharged patients with no final outcomes recorded for 32% of patients.

Dr G.B. Migliori, one of the lead authors of the study, said: "MDR-TB is a man-made product and every error in treating a case of MDR-TB can be seen as potential for generating a new MDR-TB case. The results of this study have identified a number of mistakes and deviations from the recommended practices in the management of TB and MDR-TB/XDR-TB cases in Europe. To help prevent the further emergence of drug-resistant TB, we must increase awareness and training, promote standards of care and allocate appropriate resources where necessary."

Related Stories

Drug-resistant tuberculosis rife in China

date Dec 11, 2008

Levels of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in China are nearly twice the global average. Nationwide research published in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases has shown that almost 10% of Chinese TB cases are re ...

WHO warns of drug-resistant TB

date Sep 06, 2006

The World Health Organization in Switzerland has warned of a new strain of tuberculosis that is rapidly spreading and cannot be treated with current drugs.

Recommended for you

Sierra Leone ends anti-Ebola lockdown after three days

date 1 hour ago

Sierra Leoneans were once again allowed to leave their homes Sunday evening after the government announced the end of a three-day nationwide lockdown aimed at preventing a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.