Share this

One-third of the world’s population is currently infected with the tuberculosis (TB) bacillus. Every year, nine million people develop active TB and 1.5 million die from it.

TB is spread through the air when infected people cough or sneeze. Not everyone infected with TB becomes ill, but 10 per cent
will develop active TB at some point in their lives. The disease most often affects the lungs. Symptoms include a persistent cough, fever, weight loss, chest pain and breathlessness in the lead-up to death. TB incidence is much higher and is a leading cause of death among people with HIV.

Diagnosis of TB depends on a phlegm sample, which can be difficult to obtain from children. There is a new molecular test that can give results after just two hours, and detect a certain level of drug resistance, but it is costly, depends on a reliable power supply, and still requires a phlegm sample.

A course of treatment for uncomplicated TB takes a minimum of six months. When patients are resistant to the two most powerful first-line antibiotics, they are considered to have multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). MDR-TB is not impossible to treat, but the drug regime is arduous, taking up to two years and causing many side effects. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is identified when resistance to second-line drugs develops on top of MDR-TB. The treatment options for XDR-TB are limited.

Home visits are a key part of the recovery from illness
Does the Global Fund’s New Funding Model foster country ambitions?
Medical publications
Impact of Introducing the Line Probe Assay on Time to Treatment Initiation of MDR-TB in Delhi, India
Khanyi describes her delight at being cured of TB
MSF's nurse manager describes the challenges in tackling TB
Linezolid Fact Sheet
Press release
South African authorities allow importation of successful drug to combat TB
A Year in Focus 2013-2014
An interview with Elias Pavlopoulos, outgoing Head of Mission for MSF in Swaziland
A video illustrating the 25-years presence of MSF in Armenia, from 1988 Earthquake to today's DR-TB...
Phumeza Tisile, a former XDR-TB patient, takes the ‘Test Me, Treat Me’ Drug-Resistant...
An amazing week with Phumeza Tisile at the World Health Assembly
World Health Assembly 67 – Agenda item 12.1, Global strategy and targets for tuberculosis...
Press release
Phumeza Tisile delivers urgent plea to WHA delegates on behalf of 50,000 supporters worldwide
Patient story
The inspiring story of TB patient Phumeza Tisile of South Africa
Patient story
Home care gives hope of survival for DR-TB patients in Zimbabwe