Archive for Friday, September 8, 2006

Expert: Killer TB strain in 28 S. African hospitals

September 8, 2006

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— A killer strain of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis has been found in at least 28 hospitals across South Africa and might have spilled across borders, a specialist said Thursday.

The super bug could jeopardize efforts to deal with an AIDS epidemic that has hit South Africa particularly hard, according to experts gathered here for a conference on combatting the new threat.

No one knows how many people are infected with the particularly virulent strain, which was announced last week, microbiologist Willem Sturm said.

Victims in South Africa were "all over the place ... you can almost be sure there will be infection in Mozambique and even farther (abroad) because people travel," Sturm said.

The new strain was discovered by rural doctor Tony Moll in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, where it killed 52 of 53 HIV-positive patients.

Sturm, a professor at KwaZulu-Natal University's Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, said reports he had gathered from hospitals across the country in the last week showed at least 28 hospitals had at least one patient with the new strain.

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