MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

ECDC finds only one in three MDR TB patients complete treatment

The European Union/European Economic Area recently released data regarding tuberculosis prevalence and treatment in the EU/EEA and found that while overall prevalence is decreasing, treatment for multi-drug resistant TB must be greatly improved.

The data, which was jointly created by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, found that only one out of every three patients with MDR TB infections successfully completed treatment. More than half of all MDR TB patients died, did not follow recommended treatment plans or stopped treatment all together.

Only seven out of 21 countries reported maintaining a five-year decline in MDR TB notification rates. Across the EU, the rate of MDR TB treatment success is approximately 30 percent below the target of 70 percent set by the EU Framework Action Plan to Fight Tuberculosis.

"If we are not able to diagnose and treat patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis early and successfully, this not only puts patients' lives at risk but also paves the way for XDR TB," European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Director Marc Sprenger said. "This is why it is essential to enable healthcare workers across Europe to fully support all MDR TB patients during the full course of treatment and make sure they finish it successfully."

The ECDC said that it places responsibility on the healthcare system to ensure MDR TB patients understand the importance of completing treatment successfully.