Tuberculosis TB declined first time says WHO

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WHO reports for the first time that the number of people falling ill with tuberculosis (TB) each year is declining. New data, published today in the WHO 2011 global tuberculosis control report, also show that the number of people dying from the disease fell to its lowest level in a decade.

The new tuberculosis report findings are:

– the number of people who fell ill with TB dropped to 8.8 million in 2010, after peaking at nine million in 2005;

– TB deaths fell to 1.4 million in 2010, after reaching 1.8 million in 2003;

– the TB death rate dropped 40% between 1990 and 2010, and all regions, except Africa, are on track to achieve a 50% decline in mortality by 2015;

– in 2009, 87% of patients treated were cured, with 46 million people successfully treated and seven million lives saved since 1995. However, a third of estimated TB cases worldwide are not notified and therefore it is unknown whether they have been diagnosed and properly treated.

“Fewer people are dying of tuberculosis, and fewer are falling ill. This is major progress. But it is no cause for complacency.” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Too many millions still develop TB each year, and too many die. I urge serious and sustained support for TB prevention and care, especially for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people”.

Much of the progress reported today is the result of expanded efforts in large countries.

“In many countries, strong leadership and domestic financing, with robust donor support, has started to make a real difference in the fight against TB,” said WHO’s Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “The challenge now is to build on that commitment, to increase the global effort – and to pay particular attention to the growing threat of multidrug-resistant TB.”

Source: World Health Organization, Switzerland

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