Wednesday 18 October 2017

TB case sparks concern

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Ireland had a case of multi-drug-resistant TB last year, a form of the disease that is causing concern throughout Europe.

This form of TB is defined as being resistant to, at least, the two most effective drugs against the disease, isoniazid and rifampicin.

These patients are much more difficult to treat, with treatment taking at least 18 months and involving up to eight drugs at a time. Around 1,500 cases of multi-drug resistant TB are reported in Europe annually.

There were 318 cases of TB diagnosed in Ireland last year and two deaths, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. Some 155 of the patients were born in Ireland; 127 cases involved foreign patients, while country of birth was not reported for another 36.

Of the 127 cases born outside Ireland, 11 were in asylum-seekers or refugees.

New data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows high rates of multidrug-resistant TB affecting vulnerable populations such as the homeless, drug and alcohol abusers and migrants.

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