Via Technology, Health and Development, the acclaimed photojournalist James Nachtwey is pointing his camera lens to a neglected but dangerous threat to global public health.
According to XDRTB.org
TB can usually be treated with a course of four standard, or “first-line,” anti-TB drugs. If these drugs are misused or mismanaged, multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) can develop. MDR-TB takes longer to treat, and requires “second-line” drugs that are more expensive and have more side effects. XDR-TB can develop when these second-line drugs are also misused or mismanaged and become ineffective. Treatment options for XDR-TB are seriously limited.
Many people think of TB as a disease of the past, but in 2007 alone, TB killed 1.7 million people. That’s 4,660 deaths a day, or one death from TB every 20 seconds. TB is the leading killer of people with HIV: Individuals are able to live with HIV but are dying from TB. Without proper treatment, 90% of those living with HIV die within months of contracting TB.
The drugs to treat a standard TB case cost only $20 per patient in the developing world, and are almost always completely effective in curing a person of the disease when taken properly, even among people living with HIV.
XDR-TB and MDR-TB, the drug-resistant strains of TB, are much more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to cure. Cases of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) have been found in almost every country of the world. It is not clearly known how far these strains have spread.