CDC Study on Drug Resistant TB Published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases

A CDC study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases,external icon provides compelling evidence that drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) is expected to increase in some of the world’s highest burden countries over the next two decades, and suggests that person-to-person transmission will play an increasingly larger role in the spread of the disease. The study looked at India, South Africa, Russia, and the Philippines, which account for nearly 40 percent of all drug resistant TB cases worldwide.

CDC researchers, using a complex mathematical model that brought together the best available data from multiple sources, found:

    • The proportion of new drug resistant TB cases in these four high-burden countries will increase by 2040 unless there are major changes in the global response
    • Fewer cases over time will be caused by acquired drug resistance during TB treatment
    • These findings suggest that person-to-person transmission, rather than inadequate or ineffective treatment, will increasingly drive the epidemic over the next two decades

The study findings have important implications for global TB efforts and point to an urgent need to transform the global community’s approach to controlling this deadly disease. Focusing solely on curing people with TB and drug-resistant TB will not be enough to halt the epidemic. According to study authors, controlling the growing threat of drug resistant TB around the world requires a concerted effort on a number of fronts such as:

    • Strengthening infection control and contact tracing measures
    • Intensifying efforts to stop the spread of TB in households, health centers and communities
    • Developing more effective diagnostic tests that can rapidly detect drug resistance

For more information on this analysis and the growing threat of drug resistant TB, see downloadable resources below:

Downloadable Resources

Read more about CDC’s efforts every day to combat TB globally.

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Page last reviewed: May 9, 2017