Oz takes 'high risk strategy' with PNG TB

“In contrast to the current Australian stance, the US and Mexican governments have worked cooperatively and there has been increased US investment in [TB] control on both sides of the border,” respiratory specialist Dr Graham Simpson said in an editorial in the Internal Medicine Journal.

Dr Simpson, from the Regional TB Control Centre at Cairns Base Hospital, said with an Australian-run TB outreach service in the Torres Strait due to close in February 2012 after a funding row between the Queensland and commonwealth governments, the likely result is increasing drug-resistant tuberculosis in cash-strapped PNG.

Aside from humanitarian and ethical considerations, the decision is a high risk strategy, with the spread of extremely drug-resistant disease into northern Australia “inevitable”, he said.

Int Med J 2011; 41:759-60