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XDR TB (Extensively Drug-Resistant TB)

XDR TB (Extensively Drug-Resistant TB)

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) is a relatively rare type of multidrug-resistant to treat tuberculosis (MDR TB). Also, this drug is resistant to almost all drugs that are used to treat TB, including the two best first-line drugs: isoniazid and rifampin. XDR TB is also resistant to the best second-line medications: fluoroquinolones and at least one of three injectable drugs (i.e., amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin).

How is XDR TB spread?

Drug-susceptible (regular) TB and XDR TB are spread easier in the same way. TB germs are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. These germs can float in the air for several hours, depending on the environment. Persons who breathe in the air containing these TB germs can become infected.

TB is not spread by
  • shaking someone's hand
  • sharing food or drink touching bed linens or toilet seats
  • sharing toothbrushes
  • kissing
  • smoking or sharing cigarettes

Who is at risk for getting XDR TB?

Drug-resistant TB condition is most common in people who:

  • Do not take their TB medicine regularly
  • Do not take all of their TB medicines as prescribed by their doctor
  • Develop TB disease again, after having taken TB medicine in the past
  • Come from areas of the world where drug-resistant TB is common
  • Have spent time with someone known to have drug-resistant TB disease

Why is XDR TB so serious?

Because XDR TB is resistant to the most potent TB drugs, the remaining treatment options are less effective, have more side effects, and are more expensive. XDR TB is of special concern for persons with HIV infection or other conditions that can weaken the immune system. These persons are more likely to develop TB disease once they are infected, and they also have a higher risk of death if they develop TB disease.

How can I prevent myself from getting TB?

Avoid close contact for a prolonged period of time with known TB patients in crowded, enclosed environments like clinics, hospitals, prisons, or homeless shelters.

Is it safe to travel to countries where cases of XDR TB have been reported?

Although MDR and XDR TB are occurring globally, they are still rare. HIV-infected travelers are at the greatest risk if they come in contact with a person with MDR or XDR TB.

All travelers should avoid high-risk settings where there are no infection control measures in place. Documented places where transmission has occurred include crowded hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, and other settings where susceptible persons come in contact with persons with TB disease.

What are the symptoms of XDR TB?

The general symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs may also include coughing, chest pain, and coughing up blood. Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected. If you have these symptoms, you should contact your doctor or local health department.

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