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Tuberculosis remains leading infectious killer

Tuberculosis remains leading infectious killer

Kolkata, Oct 31 (UNI) Global efforts to combat tuberculosis (TB) have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 per cent, according to the Global TB Report 2017, released by the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite these achievements, the latest picture is grim. TB remains the top infectious killer in 2016. TB is also the main cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance and the leading killer of people with HIV. Progress in most countries is stalling and is not fast enough to reach global targets or close persistent gaps in TB care and prevention. "While the world has committed to ending the TB epidemic by 2030, actions and investments don’t match the political rhetoric. We need a dynamic, global, multisectoral approach." said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "The good news is that we finally have two great opportunities to move forward: the first WHO Global Ministerial Conference to End TB in Moscow in 2017, followed by the first UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018. These will build momentum, get different sectors engaged, and accelerate our efforts to make TB history," he said. In 2016, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, 10 per cent of which were people living with HIV. Seven countries accounted for 64 per cent of the total burden, with India bearing the brunt, followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa. An estimated 1.7 million people died from TB, including nearly 400 000 people who were co-infected with HIV. This is a drop by 4 per cent compared to 2015. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. WHO estimates that there were 600 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug, of which 490 000 had MDR-TB. Almost half of these cases were in India, China and the Russian Federation. "The sheer numbers of deaths and suffering speak for themselves – we are not accelerating fast enough," said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme. MORE UNI BM SJC

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