Drug resistant TB on rise here

Patient cases involving drug-resistant tuberculosis are on the rise in Ireland, a group of respiratory experts have warned.

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is very difficult to treat, according to Professor Joseph Keane of St James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin.

The current treatment relating to the disease requires a two-year course of antibiotics which causes the extreme side-effect of hearing loss, said Prof Keane.

With 1.5m people dying from tuberculosis (TB) every year and one third of the global population infected, he said the disease must be tackled urgently.

“The increase in multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis is an epidemic that is devastating the developing world. It is crucial that we do not become complacent about the spread of TB both globally and here at home in Ireland,” said Prof Keane.

He said more resources needed to be allocated to tackle it, domestically.

Respiratory consultant at St James’s, Dr Anne Marie McLaughlin, said there were 329 cases of TB in Ireland each year. “The complexity of these cases and the increase in the number of multi-drug-resistant cases is pushing the limits of our services,” she said.

Funding was promised to St James’s Hospital in 2004 for a national TB unit, consultant Dr Finbarr O’Connell said. “Our public health efforts to fight TB would be helped if this facility was delivered now.”

Global guidelines have been released on tackling the disease, with Prof Keane the only Irish author to contribute. The guidelines say doctors should consider testing patients for TB when a person they live with has the disease, if they immigrated from a country where the disease is common or if they are in a high-risk setting such as a prison, a hostel or homeless shelter.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

House fire upgraded to murder investigation 30 years later

Ryanair faces flight chaos if pilots ‘work to rule’

Taoiseach to spend €160k on reports assessing Government’s public image

New canon for former Ballincollig Gun Store

Breaking Stories

Customers in the West urged to turn off gas amid safety fears


Getting clean and lean: James Duigan on the simplicity of changing your food habits

Ask Audrey: You’re 9 on the Crazy Scale, where 1 is sane and 10 is flying with Ryanair

Get out and enjoy: What's on offer for Culture Night?

Upper crusts: Eight sourdough breads tested

More From The Irish Examiner