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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Woman’s Drug-Resistant TB, Echoing Around the World

By Geeta Anand
This weekend’s Wall Street Journal has the story of Rahima Sheikh, one of India’s first documented cases of tuberculosis that is resistant to virtually all the medicines approved to treat it.
Over the past six years, Mrs. Sheikh, 40 years old, mortgaged her family’s rice fields, spent her father’s and brother’s life savings, and crisscrossed India in search of a cure for tuberculosis. But instead of getting healthier, Mrs. Sheikh grew increasingly resistant to medication with each failed treatment.
Her six-year journey to all-but-incurable TB exposes a blind spot in an Indian medical bureaucracy that, for decades, neglected to implement widespread testing or treatment for drug-resistant strains.
As a result, a curable disease has mutated into a killer – a danger the global community is worried about. Health officials have urged India and other countries with increasing drug resistance to take stronger action. And this year the U.K. added India to the list of countries whose citizens must be tested for TB to obtain a visa of six months or more.
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