Tuberculosis cases increasing as drug-resistant strains take hold

TUBERCULOSIS cases are on the rise in Australia, with the so-called super multi-resistant strains encroaching steadily, researchers say.

The number of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases notified in Australia rose by 30% in two years, with 31 cases detected in 2009 compared to 24 in 2007, and just eight cases in 2000, according to Sydney-based medical researchers, the Centenary Institute.

Also, cases of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) are becoming less rare.

Dr Bernadette Saunders (PhD), Centenary Institute senior tuberculosis researcher, said that although only a handful of TB cases were found annually in Australia a decade ago, now there are more than 1000.

Most come from people born overseas or who have lived overseas for extended periods, she said.

“I suppose as a general practitioner, unless you’re living in an area where there’s more tuberculosis – so probably perhaps with the