Thursday, July 2, 1998 Published at 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Drug resistant TB poses major health threat
Patients with resistant strains should be isolated
Tuberculosis could make a major re-emergence in the UK unless treatment procedures are tightened up, experts have warned.
The British Thoracic Society (BTS) said patients with resistant TB strains should only be treated by experienced physicians in hospitals with full isolation facilities.
Non-compliant patients, including the homeless, the mentally ill and drug and alcohol abusers, should receive "Directly Observed Therapy" (DOT) in which health workers or friends watch patients take their medicine, said the Society.
Strains of TB resistant to most antibiotics are already gaining a foothold in eastern Europe and pose a serious global health threat.
The BTS presented its guidelines for averting the danger in the UK at its summer meeting in Edinburgh.
The Society also recommended that:
A disease of today
Dr Peter Ormerod, chairman of the Joint TB Committee of the British Thoracic Society, said: "TB is a disease of today and has not been confined to the history books. With more than 6,200 new cases of this disease last year in the UK, we cannot be complacent.
"Stringent procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of TB must be in place in hospitals across the UK. This will only happen if specialist lung physicians with experience in TB are involved in the treatment of TB patients."