Untreatable tuberculosis could develop in Australia

The World Health Organization is warning that untreatable tuberculosis may develop near Australia due to increased infections of multi-drug resistant TB in the remote southwest of Papua New Guinea.
The country's health minister said that TB is now a greater health emergency than HIV/AIDS. A WHO spokesperson said that the problem has now reached a state of emergency, ABC Newcastle reports.
"If you just look at the numbers of MDR TB cases, it's clear that we're dealing with a crisis," Catharina Van Weezenbeek, the WHO spokesperson, said, according to ABC Newcastle. "Children 14-years-old infected with MDR TB in a family with already five patients dying."
A research team from the WHO found that the health centers in these rural areas are rundown with extremely limited or no medical supplies. Because there is no TB coordinator in the region, nobody is monitoring patients to ensure they stick to the lengthy TB treatment, which has led to the emergence of MDR-TB.
"When treatment is delivered under the current conditions which many patients are having, then it's a matter of months or years before we have forms of TB that cannot be cured," Ernesto Jaramillo, an MDR TB expert with the WHO, said, according to ABC Newcastle.
Half of the identified MDR-TB cases were treated at tuberculosis clinics in the Torres Strait. The Queensland Department of Health said it would close the clinics due to a funding dispute with the Federal Health Department. AusAID, Australia's aid agency, has provided $1 million to improve health facilities in Western Providence before the clinics close. A decision on whether to keep the clinics open will be made in January.