TB remains major infectious killer, says WHO

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Photo courtesy of BC Center for Disease Control
Photo courtesy of BC Center for Disease Control

GENEVA (19-Oct-2012/PNA/Xinhua) – Tuberculosis (TB) care and control in the past 17 years have saved some 20 million lives, but the global fight against TB remains fragile as it is still a major infectious killer, said a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday.

New data from 204 countries and regions in the Global Tuberculosis Report 2012 showed a continued decline in the number of people falling ill from TB. However, some 8.7 million new cases were reported in 2011.

In 2011, some 1.4 million people died from TB, including half a million women, making the disease as one of the top killers of women, according to the report.

It found that the TB mortality rate has decreased 41 percent since 1990 and the world is on track to achieve the global target of a 50 percent reduction by 2015.

Better access to TB care, innovations in diagnostic device, development of new drugs and new vaccines all contributed to the achievements, the report added.

However, it pointed out critical funding gaps in TB care and control — up to 3 billion U.S. dollars per year between 2013 and 2015; as well as 1.4 billion dollars funding gap per year for research and development.

“This gap threatens to hold back delivery of TB care to patients and weaken measures that prevent and control the spread of TB, with low-income countries at most risk,” said Katherine Floyd, who coordinated the report team.

Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO Stop TB Department, said the momentum to break this disease was in real danger.

“We are now at a crossroads between TB elimination within our lifetime, and millions more TB deaths,” he said. (PNA/Xinhua)

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