Tuberculosis is an ancient disease that remains an important global cause of morbidity and mortality. In most cases, TB can be treated and cured by taking a combination of several drugs for 6 to 12 months. When inappropriate or incomplete treatment takes place, however, TB bacteria can develop resistance to multiple drugs. Treatment of drug-resistant TB is currently longer, more toxic, more complex, and less effective than for drug-susceptible TB. In 2011, less than 10% of the total estimated multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) cases were detected and annually, there are approximately 500,000 cases of MDR TB, and 150,000 deaths. Although there are simple rapid tests that have improved the diagnosis of the disease, there is immense potential to increase the number of persons diagnosed with MDR TB, and diagnose them more quickly so that they can begin treatment sooner.
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