XDR-TB patients spark exodus

Several patients virtually fled an East London hospital after the admission of eight people suffering from the killer XDR-TB virus, Dispatch Online reported yesterday.

Several patients virtually fled an East London hospital after the admission of eight people suffering from the killer XDR-TB virus, Dispatch Online reported yesterday.

"We fear for our lives," said one patient who had joined about 100 others from Fort Grey Hospital in deciding to go home rather than continue treatment with the XDR patients in the same building.

The patients with XDR-TB, or extremely drug resistant TB, were brought in to the hospital from Jose Pearson TB Hospital in Port Elizabeth.

"We have nothing against the patients, but we cannot share our living quarters with them," said one of the patients who left.

Another patient, Mandisa Ndandane, said: "Our immune systems are already weak. We cannot survive a stronger strain.

"What made it worse is that when the paramedics brought the patients in they wore full-length protection suits, like they were going to space."

The XDR-TB patients were put into one of three isolation wards set up at Fort Grey and two other hospitals in October.

The other wards are in Jose Pearson and Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha.

The Health Department said there was no need for the patients to worry. - Sapa

X