India could be breeding ground for resistant TB strain

A tuberculosis expert is concerned that a mutant strain of the bacteria in India could turn the disease into a fatal plague resistant to all modern treatments.

Mario Raviglione, the director of the Stop TB Department of the World Health Organization, said that the strain has been resistant to all known treatments and it could make the disease as deadly as it was before treatments were developed in the 1940s. Before such treatments were created, the bacterial disease killed two-thirds of all people afflicted with it, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The creation of the resistant strain may be a result of India's slow response to years of medical warnings. India is home to the largest number of cases of TB in the world with 2.3 million cases annually out of the nine million cases experienced worldwide. TB is India's most deadly infectious disease.

While only a small number of cases of the resistant strain are known, the cases are geographically dispersed. Approximately 100,000 of India's patients have drug resistant TB and researchers have said that such strains can mutate into increasingly immune forms, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Tuberculosis is an airborne, communicable disease that typically attacks the lungs. The disease is often found in areas with deep poverty throughout the world.