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Industrialisation, WWI helped fuel TB spread

A virulent group of TB germs spread from East Asia in waves propelled by industrialisation, World War I and Soviet collapse to yield some of the drug-resistant strains plaguing the world today, a study said Monday. It evolved into several sub-lineages and strains, spreading eastward to Micronesia and Polynesia and westward to central Asia, Russia and eastern Europe. Among the toughest modern-day versions — two multi-drug resistant (MDR) clones, started spreading through eastern Europe and Asia on an epidemic scale about 20-30 years ago, “coinciding with the collapse of the public health system of the former Soviet Union,” study co-author Thierry Wirth of France's National History Museum told AFP.