But the subject is deadly serious:
Drug-resistant "white plague" lurks among rich and poor
The WHO has convened a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss whether the emergence of TB strains that seem to be resistant to all known medicines merits a new class definition of "totally drug-resistant TB", or TDR-TB.
If so, it would add a new level to an evolution over the years from normal TB, which is curable with six months of antibiotic treatment, to the emergence of MDR-TB, then extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).
What's so frustrating about that progression, says Lucica Ditiu of the WHO's Stop TB Partnership, is that all drug-resistant TB "is a totally man-made disease". [...]
"The doctors, the healthcare workers, the nurses, entire healthcare systems have produced MDR-TB. It's not a bug that has come from nature. It's not a spontaneous mutation. It came about because patients were treated badly -- either with poor quality drugs, or not enough drugs, or with insufficient observation so the patient didn't finish the treatment course," said Ditiu.
We need to figure out how to provide health care more cheaply (in the US) and more equitably (everywhere). But we also need to be figuring out how to provide it more effectively.