WHO warns on TB progress

2012-10-18 09:10

Washington - The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said an estimated 20 million people are alive today as a direct result of tuberculosis (TB) care recommended by the WHO.

But the director of the WHO's department dedicated to stopping TB warned that the momentum must continue in order to rid the world of the chronic and contagious respiratory disease.

"The momentum to break this disease is in real danger. We are now at a crossroads between TB elimination within our lifetime, and millions more TB deaths," said Dr Mario Raviglione.

Leadership in countries where TB is endemic and international support have helped in reaching the milestone, WHO said.

The annual report on TB was compiled from data collected in 204 countries and territories and covers all aspects of TB, including multidrug-resistant TB and TB linked to HIV infection.

There has been a continued decline in the number of people falling ill from TB, the reports shows. Nevertheless, there were 8.7 million new cases in 2011. An estimated 1.4 million people died from TB.

The report also showed reduced rates of new disease and deaths in all of WHO's six regions, although the African and European regions are not yet on track to achieve goals to halve 1990 levels of mortality by 2015.

Countries that have achieved the most success include Cambodia, which saw a 45% drop in TB prevalence between 2002 and 2011.