by Florian Gehre, Jacob Otu, Lindsay Kendall et al.
BMC Medicine, 2016 14:160 – Published: 3 November 2016
Soaring rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) have been found in West Africa, with the highest in the dense population of Lagos, Nigeria, suggesting the seriousness of the epidemic has been considerably underestimated. Until now, the World Health Organisation has had to rely on estimates for MDR-TB in west Africa because the data has not been collected or reliable. But a new surveillance network across eight countries in the region has found that drug resistance is a much greater threat than had been assumed. The WHO had estimated that up to 2% of new TB infections in west Africa were resistant to drugs, but the researchers found the true rate was 6%. The rate among people who had already been treated for TB was much higher: the WHO had estimated 17% of these infections in West Africa were resistant to drugs, but the network has found the average is 35%.