News / Health

Tuberculosis Cases Down, Disease Still A Major Killer

TB Cases Down, But Disease Still A Major Killeri
|| 0:00:00
X
Carol Pearson
October 18, 2012 11:02 AM
The World Health Organization reports that the number of people who caught tuberculosis fell last year, but it also said the number of deaths from TB remained the same and that TB is still a major killer. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Carol Pearson
The World Health Organization reports that the number of people who caught tuberculosis (TB) fell last year, but it also said the number of deaths from TB remained the same and that TB is still a major killer.

The news from the World Health Organization is mixed: some 20 million people are alive today as a result of international efforts to control tuberculosis and care for those who have it. As a result, the death rate has dropped by 40 percent since 1990, but lately, it has remained stubbornly level.

And progress has been painfully slow in reducing the overall number of TB cases, and in containing the spread of multi-drug resistant strains of the infection.

Dr. Mario Raviglione, with the WHO, discussed the agency's 2012 report at a Washington news conference.

Dr. Raviglione said a shortage of money threatens to halt progress in containing the spread of TB, and he warns of serious consequences if this funding gap is not filled.

"We will have to accept that millions more people will be dying of tuberculosis on an annual basis. We'll have to accept that the incidents of TB, instead of going towards elimination-- which is what we hope for --is going to stagnate and increase again, and we'll have to accept that multi-drug resistant TB will be created and further spread," he said.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs, although it can be found in other organs. It's highly contagious, and it's transmitted by breathing in droplets of air from the cough or sneeze of a TB-infected person.

The WHO report shows more than half the number of TB cases are in Asia.  Forty percent are in India and China.

But the problem in sub-Saharan Africa is also severe because many of those who have TB also have HIV/AIDS. Eighty percent of those infected with both TB and HIV live in this region.

But doctors now have rapid TB tests that can show if a person has the infection in about an hour and a half. And new drugs to fight TB will soon be available.
 
"We expect two, if not three, entirely new compounds that kill the TB bacillus very effectively to be available in the next few months," Dr. Raviglione stated.

A vaccine to prevent TB is what scientists hope for. But until one can be developed, the World Heath Organization is calling for countries to commit to TB control programs and increased testing and for international donors to continue large-scale funding of these efforts.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid