Isterie maxima in UK. Bomba cu ceas. Romanii vor readuce tuberculoza in Marea Britanie

Dying Tuberculosis sufferer Sandu Georgeta (37) with Doctor Cristina Popa in a isolated TB unit of a Bucharest Hospital.

Borrowed time … TB patient Georgeta Sandu with Dr Popa

A DEADLY TB superbug will sweep into the UK when we open our doors to Romanians, experts warned last night.

Poverty and poor healthcare have made Romania the tuberculosis capital of Europe, where the killer lung disease claims hundreds of lives every year.

Experts fear that poor infected migrants will unknowingly bring the contagious airborne bug into the UK when they come here seeking work once restrictions end next year.

TB expert Jonathan Stillo, who is leading research into Multi-Drug Resistant TB in Romania, warns: “It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

He adds: “When the guy is sat on the Tube train it’s too late. The estimate is that he is going to infect ten to 15 people a year.”

Once known as the Great White Plague, TB ravaged Britain in Victorian times but was all but wiped out here by the 1970s.

It is curable with cheap antibiotics, but kills half of those it infects if left untreated. And if patients fail to complete the six-month treatment, surviving bacteria can evolve into a stronger, drug-resistant strain.

Worryingly, cases of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) and Extensively Drug Resistant (XDR) TB are on the rise. Tougher and more expensive to treat, these strains are already rife in poorer nations.

In Romania there are an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 TB patients with around 1,000 new MDR cases diagnosed every year — with many of the infected walking the streets and more going undiagnosed.

By comparison, the UK had just 58 drug-resistant cases in 2009, rising to 81 in 2011, while 24 XDR cases were found in the past two years.

Between 2001 and 2010, TB killed more than 4,800 people in the UK. But the Health Protection Agency fears by 2015 we may have more cases each year than the whole of the US.

This week, medical journal The Lancet warned that a rise in XDR cases could lead to the emergence of an untreatable superstrain.

It added that immigration from eastern Europe posed a “very real” threat of the UK importing drug-resistant TB.


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