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Gagner la guerre contre la tuberculose

SEATTLE – Les humains se sont battus contre la tuberculose depuis l’âge de la pierre. Ce n’est que depuis le dernier siècle que des progrès réels ont été réalisés contre cette maladie. Le vaccin, utilisé chez l’humain depuis 1921, est encore en usage dans le monde aujourd’hui. Et une série d’antibiotiques à commencer par la streptomycine dans les années 1940 s’est avérée efficace pour traiter les infections.

Depuis 1990, les morts causées par la tuberculose annuellement ont été réduites de moitié. De l’an 2000 à 2014, de meilleurs diagnostics et traitements ont permis de sauver quelque 43 millions de vies. Malgré cela, les progrès se sont beaucoup ralentis, et tout porte à croire que la lutte est loin d’être finie. La baisse annuelle des cas de tuberculose au cours de la dernière décennie ne dépasse pas 1,5 % ; en 2014 la tuberculose a tué 1,5 million de personnes.

Pendant ce temps, des souches de la maladie sont en train de développer une résistance aux traitements. La mauvaise utilisation et la gestion déficiente des antibiotiques ont laissé apparaître des souches de tuberculose pharmacorésistantes. Ces souches doivent être combattues par des médicaments de seconde ligne de défense, qui sont plus chers et comportent souvent plus d’effets secondaires. Des souches qui sont également résistantes aux médicaments de deuxième ligne, connus sous le nom de tuberculose-ultra résistante aux médicaments de deuxième ligne (TB-UR), sont également apparues.

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