Recently released, the fourth WHO/IUATLD Global Project on Anti-Tuberculosis Resistance Surveillance report presents TB data collected in 81 countries. Particularly noteworthy, the project recorded the highest rates of multi-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) to date. In the Baltic nations and the Russian Federation, this form is widespread. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which at this point is "virtually untreatable", currently exists in 45 countries.

The WHO now estimates around a half a million new cases of MDR-TB each year. Although 184 countries have basic TB control, targets for the detection and treatment of MDR-TB, outlined in the Global Plan to Stop TB, have yet to be reached and few countries are in on track to reach these goals. Consequently, the WHO is urging countries to place drug resistant TB as a top priority. "TB drug resistance needs a frontal assault. If countries and the international community fail to address it aggressively now, we will lose this battle," says WHO Stop TB Director, Dr. Mario Ravigilione.

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