Pulmonary extensively drug resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB)

Pulmonary Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB)

Pulmonary extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) is a form of tuberculosis (TB) caused by bacterial infection. It is a highly fatal, infectious disease that is resistant to current treatments and fast-spreading in certain parts of the world. XDR TB is caused by a strain of bacteria which is resistant to the most effective anti-TB drugs, making it even more difficult to treat and have a higher mortality rate.

XDR TB patients have an even higher risk of death than those with drug-susceptible forms of TB. This is because it is much harder to treat XDR TB due to the bacteria’s resistance to multiple drugs. It is estimated that the mortality rate of XDR TB is between 34 and 58 percent.

XDR TB can be transmitted in two ways – through the air, when a person with an active XDR TB infection breathes, speaks, or coughs, and through contact with infected bodily fluids. The disease is especially prevalent in people who are HIV-positive, malnourished, or immunocompromised. XDR TB is also a major concern for healthcare workers, as they are at a higher risk of becoming infected.

The symptoms of XDR TB are similar to those of other forms of TB, including:

  • Coughing that lasts for more than three weeks
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Weakness/tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood in the sputum

If you think you may have XDR TB, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible, as early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of a successful outcome.

Treatment for XDR TB is long and complex, and usually involves multiple medications given for at least 18 months. The drugs used to treat XDR TB can have unpleasant side effects, including nausea, dizziness, kidney problems, liver damage, and hearing loss. Some patients may require surgery to remove portions of destroyed lung tissue.

It is important to remember that XDR TB is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. If you think you may have been exposed to XDR TB, it is important to see a healthcare professional right away for diagnosis and treatment.