The emergence of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in patients at a rural hospital in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa gained international attention in 2005. By that point, physicians had become accustomed to encountering cases of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). When first-line antibiotics failed, they knew they could turn to more toxic and less effective second-line choices. But the outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal led to the “recognition that untreatable TB was out there,” explained William R. Bishai, MD, PhD, codirector of the Johns Hopkins Center for Tuberculosis Research in Baltimore.
Kuehn BM. Scientists Confront Joint HIV-TB Epidemics by Taking Fight to the Front Lines. JAMA. 2012;308(19):1959-1960. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14752