French hospitals report increasing numbers of MDR-TB cases

French hospitals have reported receiving an increasing number of patients from Eastern Europe with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in recent months.

French public health authorities said that they fear an increasing risk of contagion from the influx of MDR-TB patients. There were 40 total MDR-TB cases in France reported in 2010, 64 cases in 2011 and 92 in 2012, according to

Data France's National Reference Center shows that, despite the overall increase in the number of cases, those involving French people remain relatively rare. Of the 92 total cases reported in 2012, only five were French.

The majority of the cases seen in France last year came from countries in the former Soviet Union with weak TB control programs, including Georgia and Russia. There was also a slight increase seen in cases from Asia, including several from India and China, reports.

The World Health Organization recently warned that urgent investment is needed in the infrastructure, diagnostics and provision of care to treat MDR-TB cases. MDR-TB is particularly difficult to treat since patients do not respond to frontline drugs and second-line treatment takes longer and is generally more expensive.

Many in France consider TB to be a disease of the past, but it is currently on the rise in many Western nations. If left untreated, TB can kill more than 50 percent of those who contract it, according to