What is Multi-Drug Resistant TB?

Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (called MDR TB for short) is a very dangerous form of tuberculosis. Some TB germs become resistant to the effects of some TB drugs. This happens when TB disease is not properly treated.

These resistant germs can then cause TB disease. The TB disease they cause is much harder to treat because the drugs do not kill the germs. MDR TB can be spread to others, just like regular TB.

It is important that patients with TB disease follow their doctor's instructions for taking their TB medicine so that they will not develop MDR TB.

TB: What You Should Do

Find out if you're infected.

Everyone should be skin tested at least once and know whether their test result is positive or negative. You should also be tested if there's any chance you have been infected, recently or many years ago.

If the test is negative:
A negative reaction usually means that you are not infected and no treatment is needed. Sometimes, however, when a person has only recently been infected, or when his or her immune system isn't working properly, the test may be falsely negative.

If the test is positive:
A positive reaction usually means that you have been infected with the TB germ. It does not necessarily mean that you have TB disease. Cooperate with the doctor when he or she recommends a chest X ray and possibly other tests.

If the doctor recommends treatment to prevent sickness, follow the recommendations. If medicine is prescribed, be sure to take it as directed.

If you don't need treatment, do what the doctor tells you to do about follow-up. The doctor may simply say to return for another checkup if you get into a special risk situation for TB sickness or develop symptoms.

If you are sick with TB disease, follow the doctor's recommendations for treatment.

If you're a health worker:
Your local American Lung Association can provide you with more comprehensive information developed for health professionals on the diagnosis, treatment and control of TB.

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