The lack of action by Asian nations to combat the spread of dangerous multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) poses a threat to international public health, says the World Health Organization.
The WHO said each patient with untreated MDR-TB could infect five to 10 people a year, and that an uncontrolled local epidemic could spread across international borders, Agence France Presse reported.
Only 1 percent of the estimated 150,000 people with MDR-TB in East Asia and the Pacific are receiving appropriate treatment, the WHO said in a statement released Monday.
"We are more vulnerable than ever to the MDR-TB threat. Countries must act responsively to safeguard global health," the WHO said, AFP> reported.
The U.N. agency said MDR-TB is a "serious problem in China and the Philippines, and of concern in Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam."