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Drug-resistant tuberculosis: security, ethics and global health

Drug-resistant tuberculosis: security, ethics and global health
Drug-resistant tuberculosis: security, ethics and global health
The worldwide spread of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) bacteria is out of control and incidents of harder-to-cure TB illness are rising. This article explores the present and potential impact of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB)—a deadly, contagious and virtually incurable disease—on human health and state capacity. Detected cases of XDR-TB can occasion the implementation of extraordinary control measures, because some governments are sufficiently fearful of the disease as to frame it as an issue of national security. Such framing has the potential to precipitate more financial resources and stronger legal powers to bolster public health, but it might also increase the risk that emergency response measures will be counterproductive and/or unjust. Framing XDR-TB as a security issue is empirically plausible, and doing so is a good thing provided that increased response efforts promote rather than hinder the provision of universal access to adequate TB treatment over the long term. Two disease control measures that are motivated particularly by security concerns are border control and patient isolation. This article offers an assessment of each measure by reference to public health ethics in order to differentiate good and bad securitisation.
1360-0826
159-177
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6

Enemark, Christian (2013) Drug-resistant tuberculosis: security, ethics and global health. Global Society, 27 (2), 159-177. (doi:10.1080/13600826.2012.762345).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The worldwide spread of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) bacteria is out of control and incidents of harder-to-cure TB illness are rising. This article explores the present and potential impact of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB)—a deadly, contagious and virtually incurable disease—on human health and state capacity. Detected cases of XDR-TB can occasion the implementation of extraordinary control measures, because some governments are sufficiently fearful of the disease as to frame it as an issue of national security. Such framing has the potential to precipitate more financial resources and stronger legal powers to bolster public health, but it might also increase the risk that emergency response measures will be counterproductive and/or unjust. Framing XDR-TB as a security issue is empirically plausible, and doing so is a good thing provided that increased response efforts promote rather than hinder the provision of universal access to adequate TB treatment over the long term. Two disease control measures that are motivated particularly by security concerns are border control and patient isolation. This article offers an assessment of each measure by reference to public health ethics in order to differentiate good and bad securitisation.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 25 February 2013
Published date: 2013
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400205
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400205
ISSN: 1360-0826
PURE UUID: fac59e9d-1ba8-4357-8e1c-65e33a3eaae8
ORCID for Christian Enemark: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1833-0927

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Sep 2016 09:32
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 02:15

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