Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Health Organizations Warn of TB Spread

Three international health organizations appealed to President Boris Yeltsin on Thursday to do more to combat the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis, warning that Russia has become "the world's incubator of the deadly disease."

The letter sent to the Kremlin pointed in particular to the situation in Russia's prisons, where tuberculosis is widespread and as many as 40 percent of cases involve drug-resistant TB strains.

"Unless urgent measures are taken, multidrug-resistant TB will spread beyond the confines of the Russian penal system and will cause countless loss of life and enormous economic damage in Russian society and the world at large," the letter warned.

The letter was signed by Belgium-based M?dicins Sans Fronti?res, Britain-based Medical Emergency Relief International, and New York-based Public Health Research Institute.

The groups estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 Russians are infected with drug-resistant tuberculosis, two-thirds of whom are inmates.