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TB 'levels off' globally

28th March 2007

The global tuberculosis epidemic has levelled off for the first time since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared TB a public health emergency in 1993, according to a new report.

tbpatient

The Global Tuberculosis Control Report found that the percentage of the world's population struck by TB peaked in 2004 and then held steady in 2005.

"We are currently seeing both the fruits of global action to control TB and the lethal nature of the disease’s ongoing burden," said United Nations Secretary - General Ban Ki-moon in a statement carried on the WHO website.

"Almost 60% of TB cases worldwide are now detected, and out of those, the vast majority are cured. Over the past decade, 26 million patients have been placed on effective TB treatment thanks to the efforts of governments and a wide range of partners. But the disease still kills 4,400 people every day."

But it warned that while the rate at which people developed TB in 2005 was level or even declined slightly compared to 2004, the actual number of TB cases continued to rise slowly, due to the expanding world population.

And it said that major impediments to the battle against TB remained, especially in the form of  uneven access to diagnosis and treatment within countries.

The WHO statement added that TB was still a major cause of death among people living with HIV/AIDS, and was 'dramatically fuelling' the TB epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. It said the spread of XDR-TB also posed a serious threat to progress and could even reverse recent gains.

 

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