Wednesday, February 07, 2007

South Africa Fights XDR-TB with UVGI

Multi and Extreme Drug Resistrant TB strains are ravaging parts of Africa, mainly preying upon HIV+ patients whose immune systems are weakened. While TB was nearly eradicated from Western countries, it is a serioud health threat elsewhere, especially in South Africa.
Because TB is airborne, UVGI systems are an effective way to stop transmission of the disease. The article below mentions how UV is used in a new TB unit in a hospital about 2 hours north of Pretoria.
The Minister of Health, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Limpopo Health MEC Seaparo Sekoati visited a newly upgraded Tuberculosis (TB) unit at the FH Odendaal Hospital in the town of Modimolle in Limpopo today.
The visit comes after the Department of Health spent about R2, 5 million to upgrade the unit to accommodate more drug-resistant TB patients.

The unit is designed to prevent hospital acquired TB infection and improves patient care and treatment outcomes.

The hospital has 38 beds, 17 Multi-Drug (MDR) TB patients and three Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR) TB patients are accommodated in the hospital.

The unit is fitted with extractor fans and ultraviolet light filters which remove and kill bacteria and thereby prevent cross infection in the hospital.

"For extra protection, respirator masks are issued to all health workers and visitors in the hospital and patients are provided with surgical masks," Dr Tshabalala-Msimang.

She said MDR TB Units are being improved countrywide to deal with infection control.
UV systems were routinely used in this country to treat TB, starting in the 1930's. As more effective drugs were crafted, and TB's threat waned in the US, so did the use of UV in hospitals. It now appears that UV technology is once again needed to help stop the TB killer from spreading.

No comments: