Return of the 'White Plague': Fears over the rise of 'incurable' TB

Story highlights

  • Drug-resistant TB is on the rise, with some strains immune to all major drugs
  • Extensively resistant TB reported in 92 countries but is likely to be in many more
  • About 450,000 new drug-resistant TB cases reported worldwide in 2012
  • "It's probably in every country," says expert
Vital Signs is a monthly program bringing viewers health stories from around the world.

(CNN)"Sometimes I ask myself, why me? Why did this have to happen again?" says 31-year-old Andile from the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, South Africa. "But the problem is I could have got it anywhere, on the bus, in a taxi, in my work. It's everywhere."

Andile has extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), a form of the airborne disease that is resistant to the four main groups of drugs used to treat it, meaning treatment can take years and requires alternative drugs that have more side effects.