Indian Woman Sets Off TB Scare In The US
New York: An Indian woman infected with a rare drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis recently created a health scare in three US states and for people on her flight and is now being treated in a special isolation facility near Washington.
The woman with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) travelled from India to Chicago and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that as a precautionary measure it will be contacting people who may have come into contact with her on the plane.
The woman has not been identified in keeping with the patient privacy regulations.
A CDC spokesperson refused to release any information regarding the flight or the identity of the patient, citing privacy laws.
The woman, who arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in April, visited Missouri and Tennessee before seeking medical treatment seven weeks after coming to the US, CDC said.
Based on her medical history and molecular testing, she was diagnosed with XDR TB, CDC said. She was placed in respiratory isolation at a suburban Chicago hospital and later transported by air ambulance to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Maryland, near Washington.
The National Institutes of Health said patient was in a “stable condition” at NIH Clinical Center in an isolation room in the specially designed for handling patients with respiratory infections like XDR TB.
XDR TB is a rare type of TB that is resistant to nearly all medicines used to treat the disease. (Technically, the CDC describes it as “resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs, that is, amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin”.
Can XDR TB be treated and cured? Yes, in some cases. Some programmes have shown that cure is possible for an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of those affected. Successful treatment depends greatly on the extent of the drug resistance, the severity of the disease, whether the patient’s immune system is weakened, and adherence to treatment, CDC says.