Today, the White House released the “National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug Resistant TB (MDR TB)” . This plan is a crucial step to address MDR TB, a growing public health threat that reflects missed opportunities to find, cure, and prevent TB at the earliest stages of infection. Despite being preventable and curable, TB ranks alongside HIV as the top cause of death from infectious disease globally. In 2014, nearly 10 million people became ill with TB, resulting in 1.5 million deaths.
MDR TB is resistant to at least two of the first-line drugs used to treat TB, and it is now found in every country in the world. WHO estimates that there were nearly 500,000 MDR-TB cases globally in 2014, only one in four of which were diagnosed. Compared to TB that is not drug resistant, MDR TB takes a hefty human and economic toll – it requires longer treatment times and costlier drugs, can cause serious and permanent side effects, and significantly increases the risk of death. If left unchecked, 75 million additional people could die from MDR-TB by 2050, costing the global economy $17 trillion in lost productivity.
The White House National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug Resistant TB
The National Action Plan charts the best course of action to ensure the U.S. does its part to control the spread of MDR TB; it is designed to:
- Strengthen Domestic Capacity to Combat MDR-TB
- Improve our ability to prevent TB drug resistance in the U.S. by promptly identifying and treating all patients with TB and those who have been in close contact with them
- Expand international capacity and collaboration to combat MDR TB through innovative health technologies and greater access to prevention and care
- Accelerate R&D that will lead to new tests that can more quickly diagnose TB, effective vaccines, innovative prevention approaches, and new treatments
CDC’s Role in Implementing the White House National Action Plan to Combat Multidrug Resistant TB
As a key architect and implementer of the National Acton Plan, CDC is:
- Identifying TB hotspots to target screening efforts
- Supporting research to create better diagnostic tools and shorter MDR TB treatments
- Strengthening the capacity of laboratories to diagnose MDR TB
- Establishing best practices to end MDR TB transmission in health facilities
- Helping to expedite the discovery of an effective vaccine
- Continuing to accelerate efforts to prevent MDR TB among those co-infected with both TB and HIV—through PEPFAR
CDC is at the forefront of innovation to end TB as a global public health threat, providing on-the-ground interventions in more than 25 countries. CDC is also amplifying its global TB efforts by consolidating global TB resources and expertise from across the agency to increase coordination, collaboration and impact. To learn more about CDC’s efforts to fight MDR TB across the globe, see the following resources:
The impact of MDR TB around the world and CDC’s work with partners to fight this epidemic around the world
CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden on His Personal Experience with TB
Dr. Frieden discusses how he developed latent TB infection as a young public health worker in New Yorker. He also highlights and introduces the poignant stories of health workers who often contract TB while caring for others.
One Young Doctor’s Journey Back from a Two-Year Battle with MDR TB
Dalene von Delft, a young South African doctor, developed MDR TB while treating patients. After years of toxic treatments, facing the prospect of deafness and even death, she was finally cured of her TB. Now, as a full time ER doctor, she and her husband have dedicated their lives to advocating on behalf of TB sufferers around the world.
Diana Forno is Fighting the Spread of Drug-Resistant TB One Training at a Time
The spread of drug-resistant TB is largely due to a lack of TB controls in place to identify and effectively treat TB before it has the chance to develop resistance. To prevent drug-resistant TB from spreading, communities and health care professionals who work with vulnerable high risk populations have to be trained to identify and treat the disease.
For more about CDC’s Global HIV and TB efforts, visit our Web site here.