India is not taking TB seriously, says new WHO report

Written by | October 14, 2016 | 0

Geneva: Tuberculosis (TB) kills about 5,000 people every day globally with India continuing to take more than a third of the global burden of the disease, new estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveal.

The TB epidemic is larger than previously estimated reflecting new surveillance and survey data from India, according to the 2016 Global Tuberculosis report released on 13 October.

India’s TB data are far from flattering by most counts.
In 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide of which six countries accounted for 60 percent of the total burden led by India (25 percent), followed by Indonesia (10 percent), China (10 percent), Nigeria (5 percent), Pakistan (5 percent) and South Africa (4 percent).

Of the new TB cases last year, about 56 percent (5.9 million) people were men, 34 percent (3.5 million) people were women and one million were children. People living with HIV accounted for 1.2 million of all new TB cases.

In India, 4,80,000 people were killed by the deadly disease (not counting those with HIV and TB). It affected 28,40,000 people (HIV and TB combined) of which 9,95,000 were females and 18,50,000 were males.

Although there has been a 22 percent reduction in TB deaths between 2000 and 2015, it killed an estimated 1.8 million people around the world. Of them 0.4 million were co-infected with HIV. A curable disease like TB — which is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium — was one of the top ten causes of death worldwide in 2015. It was responsible for more deaths than due to HIV and malaria.

India had a case fatality ratio (the proportion of cases of a disease which were fatal) of between 10-19.9 percent.

One of the biggest challenges in tackling the disease is the huge gap in testing for TB and reporting new cases.

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