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WHO Calls for Global Action on TB

March 24, 2016
Public Health

Today marks World Tuberculosis Day and the WHO is calling for collective action to reduce cases of the killer disease by 90% by 2035. TB ranks alongside HIV/AIDS, the world’s top infectious disease killer, and whilst the death rate from TB dropped by 47% between 1990 and 2015, there were still 9.6 million new cases recorded across the globe in 2014 with an estimated 480,000 people developing Multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).

In the UK, there were 6,520 cases, over a third of which were in London. Scientists say that new therapeutic and diagnostic interventions including an effective vaccine are urgently needed if cases are to be drastically reduced. Programmes run by the WHO in Thailand, Russia, Brazil and Vietnam have all had a major impact on the disease. March 24th is set as World TB Day to commemorate the date on which Dr Robert Koch discovered the TB bacillus in 1882.

There is increasing concern that refugees traveling across Europe without access to treatment could cause an increase in cases as Professor Ivan Solovic, President of the European Region of the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease explained: “TB is not easily transmitted and it is treatable, therefore, efforts should be implemented to detect and treat it promptly. If better treatment options are not available for this group of people, there could be a rise in the number of cases of the disease and related deaths, which could also further contribute to increases in drug-resistant cases of TB,” he said.

You can find out more about World TB Day HERE.