Epidemic of tuberculosis in Russia

November 01, 2001

N.B. Please note that if you are outside NortAmerica the embargo for Lancet Press material is 0001 hours UK time, Friday 2 November.

People who are infected with HIV are more likely to catch tuberculosis. The rapid spread of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa has led to an epidemic of tuberculosis. In a Research Letter in this week's issue of The Lancet, Dr Boris Kazionny and colleagues warn that an epidemic of tuberculosis may affect Russia.

Researchers studied a rural community, Orel, 300 km southwest of Moscow. Orel has a population of 900 000, including 6000 prisoners. Since 1997, the prevalence of HIV infection has increased 33-fold. 85% of those tested were injection-drug users.

The authors comment that, "... the epidemic is still at an early stage, and prevention measures initiated now may limit its spread. These measures should include better HIV-1 surveillance, extensive public-health education and AIDS awareness campaigns to increase understanding of risky behaviour and risk reduction. ..Russia may be able to avoid a true public-health disaster by pursuing these prevention and containment measures; however, the time to act is now , before the opportunity is lost."
Contact : Dr Charles D Wells, Office of International Activities, Division of TB Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. E) ccw2@cdc.gov


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