Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB)

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Are immigrants putting the U.S. at increased risk for TB?

Persons applying to enter the U.S. with immigrant or refugee visas must complete a questionnaire about any symptoms of TB they may have and obtain a chest radiograph. If positive, the person submits sputum specimens for examination for TB bacteria. Persons identified as having infectious TB are not granted entry to the United States, until they have been treated.

Why haven't we heard about XDR TB before now?

For some years we have seen isolated cases of very highly resistant TB around the world that we would today call XDR TB. The drugs used to treat TB have been around a long time and drug resistance has taken many years to develop. Over time, countries have improved their laboratory capacity to test for drug resistance and their ability to track the number of cases. All of these factors have contributed to an increase in reporting of cases of drug-resistant TB. With more cases being identified, the problem was more closely examined, defined, and given a name.

What is CDC doing to prevent XDR TB from becoming a bigger problem?

CDC is collaborating with other federal agencies and international partners to raise awareness and enhance strategies for TB prevention worldwide by

  • Strengthening TB services for people living with HIV/AIDS


  • Assembling outbreak response teams Improving access to TB drugs


  • Developing international TB testing standards


  • Building capacity of health care providers to diagnose and treat TB


  • Reconvening the Federal TB Task Force


  • Providing technical assistance to expand TB program capacity


  • Supporting TB communication and education efforts


SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

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