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International media picks up on alarming rates of drug resistant TB in Europe

Image courtesy of World Lung Foundation

Following on from the WHO Europe press conference on the rise of drug resistant TB in Europe, the WHO Europe Action Plan to combat drug resistant TB received international media coverage, emphasizing the urgency in taking action.

As the BBC highlights, TB outbreaks are occurring right here in Europe, with London holding the highest TB rate of any capital city in Western Europe.  At the press conference, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar of the Health Protection Agency also explained how ‘the larger numbers in Eastern Europe represent a failure to take action’ over the past few decades.

London barrister and former TB patient Anna Watterson attended the press event to give a personal account of her experience living with multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB). Anna is proof that TB can affect anyone and anywhere, and demonstrates the danger in becoming complacent and delaying action;

“There was a delay in my diagnosis because I was a white, middle-class person and doctors didn’t think to test for it,” she said.

Once diagnosed, Watterson was put into isolation for four months in the hospital and any visitors had to wear masks. She took a cocktail of drugs for nearly two years, some of which made her nauseous and so sensitive to sunlight she had to wear gloves to protect her hands in the summer.

(Source: The Washington Post).

You can also listen to a radio interview with Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary for the Stop TB Partnership, giving an overview of the Action Plan and how TB becomes drug resistant on the BBC’s The World Today.

Other media coverage on drug resistant TB in Europe and the Action Plan includes Reuters, BBC, and the Press Association and many others.