CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateAUSTRALIA: Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Knocks at Australia's Door
Donald G. McNeil Jr.
March 27, 2013
New York Times (03.25.13)
On March 8, an individual died after spending months in isolation in a Queensland hospital, becoming Australia’s first death from extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) and alarming health officials who are grappling with the dilemma of how to treat immigrants with dangerous and contagious diseases. The Daru, Papua New Guinea, native travelled to Australia on a tourist visa in 2012, but ended up a “medical refugee” there, receiving treatment in efforts to cure her of XDR TB. Daru has a major TB outbreak in its shantytowns, and an Australian television report has shown XDR patients intermingling with other individuals within Daru Hospital TB wards, raising the possibility of spreading the resistant strain further. Health officials in Australia continue to debate how to treat incoming immigrants with diseases such as XDR TB. Experts observe that similar issues exist on the borders between the United States and Mexico and between Finland and Russia.