Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Drug-Resistant TB Continues in California

Experts Say Tuberculosis Continues to Be a Global Problem
WebMD Health News

June 7, 2005 -- Widespread efforts to control tuberculosis in California have largely failed to cut rates of dangerous drug-resistant forms of the disease.

The new report shows that tuberculosis cases have steadily declined since 1994 in the state. However, the proportion of patients with tuberculosis resistant to multiple antibiotics held steady at around 1.5% of all cases. More needs to be done to identify and control the illness both in the U.S. and abroad in order to cut rates of the disease, researchers say.

"Basically it's a flat line. It's not decreasing," Reuben M. Granich, MD, a researcher for the study, says of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis rates.

"We really can't do this in isolation. We have to do this in California, the United States, and overseas," says Granich, a researcher with the CDC division of tuberculosis elimination.

Efforts Failing

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection of the lungs. Some people can carry the bacteria in their bodies but don't have any symptoms -- and they aren't contagious. People with active tuberculosis typically have a cough with thick and sometimes bloody mucus for more than two weeks.

Tuberculosis is normally treated with six to nine months of multiple antibiotics. But if patients take medication improperly or don't complete treatment, some TB bacteria can be left in the body. When those heartier bacteria multiply, an entire new generation of drug-resistant bacteria can arise.

Public health departments and doctors try to combat the problem by closely observing patients taking medication each day, in an effort to ensure complete treatment. The treatment involves detailed testing and even interviews with patients' personal contacts, all of which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But evidence suggests that in California, resistant disease is still a problem, Granich says.

Researchers looked at nearly 29,000 tuberculosis cases reported in California between 1994 and 2003. The state has the most tuberculosis cases of any state, with approximately one-third of all the nation's patients. New York and Texas round out the top three states for the most tuberculosis cases.

Of those cases, 407 were found to be resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, two of the most common antibiotics used to treat tuberculosis. More than one in five of the patients had resistance to all four drugs used to treat tuberculosis.

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing