Saturday, October 04, 2008

XDR-TB. Spread the story. Stop the disease.

An email from TED brings news of a campaign to wipe out XDR-TB, a new and deadly form of tuberculosis that is threatening to become a global pandemic. This is an extremely drug resistant strain of a disease that in 2007 alone killed 1.7 million people: 4,660 deaths a day.

“I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it, in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.”
James Nachtwey

We are asked to visit

We are asked to Share, Sign and Support the project, to join voices with others who are working to eradicate this disease.

The photographs were taken by James Nachtwey, winner of the 2008 TED prize, where companies, organisations and individuals collaborate to work on alleviating and possibly resolving an issue. His TED wish is for help in solving this issue.
"Referred to by some TB experts as “Ebola on steroids,” extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB) is resistant to first- and second-line TB drugs. One infected person who laughs, coughs, or sings, can result in its transmission.

Since its first reporting in 2006, XDR-TB has been confirmed in 49 countries, including all G8 member states — and that may just be the tip of the iceberg, as few countries in Africa have the laboratory capacity to even detect XDR-TB, let alone track and treat it.

The drugs to treat a standard TB case cost only $20 (just over €14) per patient in the developing world, and are almost always completely effective in curing a person of the disease when taken properly, even among people living with HIV.

TB is the leading killer of people with HIV: 90% of those living with HIV die within months of contracting TB. XDR-TB and MDR-TB, the drug-resistant strains of TB, are much more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to cure."

Visit to see how you can make a difference. There's a factsheet here (pdf) with more statistics and valuable information. A simple click could make a difference to those with the TB, or those with a latent TB infection - one-third of the world’s population.


  1. Three years ago, i 'accidentally' found Bono's TED speech - i say accidentally because I believe all things happen for a reaso. HIs speech shocked and stunned me and is the single thing that galvanized me to action and has been the driving force behind what i've done with the Comfort Doll charity Project i created, as well as other things like KIVA (microfinance) , World Vision and the like. I have met many wonderful like minded people on my U2/ONE/MPH quest thingy (i call it that for lack of a better description) and upon comparing notes years later, the TED speech is also what galvanized them to action.

    As for TB, i read an unbelieveable book that everyone should read called Mountains beyond Mountains; the man who Would Cure the World by Tracey Kidder. Its about Dr Paul Farmer who has for many years tried to stamp out TB especially what they term 'Drug Resistant TB'.

    There is much back history on how TB became drug resistant (our fault) and what the UN is doing about it (not much yet) but there is also an amazing story of a man who has devoted his life to working with those in abject poverty especially in Haiti.

    i couldnt put it down. literally.

  2. i had forgotten about Siberia. siberia refuses to acknowledge any 'problem' as most of the XDR-TB patients are in prisons.

  3. Thank you for making us more aware of the impact of this deadly virus through the slide show. It is powerful!

    Once one is aware. . .how can one look away?

    My letter is sent!

    (ps. Thanks Donna for bringing this to our attention.)


  4. I'm one of Donna's U2 friends. She told me I had to read this blog and boy, was she right!!
    Thank you for sharing this. I'm off to forward and spread ...


  5. @Donna_m - hey thanks for that comment Donna, that's very cool! I really should look up that book - the statistics I read today are quite shocking and it's something I was admittedly extremely ignorant of.

    @Carolyn - hello and welcome. Fair play for getting involved. I'm sure every voice matters and every little helps.

    @Tina - welcome to you too. Thanks for reading and for spreading the word. The internet is brilliant like that. Delighted that it can get more awareness.