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Tuberculosis Cases in Africa Tripled Since 1990


Tuberculosis cases in Africa tripled since 1990

By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland.

Scoop Report: Every year 1.7 million people die of Tuberculosis (TB) worldwide, although this disease is avoidable as well as curable. The spread of the lung disease in Africa has been alarming and on World TB Day the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted measures that could reduce the number of deaths from TB.

In African countries with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS exists TB cases have tripled since 1990, the WHO wrote in their report, which was published in Geneva.

In all other continents the disease has declined by 20 per cent.

TB appeared in 8.8 million people worldwide in the last year. A total of 15.4 million people are suffering from TB.

“The information from the report fuels hope that TB can be conquered. Nnevertheless it’s worrying”, explained WHO General Executive Jong-wook Lee. He added: “We can only defeat AIDS when we fight TB at the same time. TB often means the death sentence for people with AIDS, as Nelson Mandela said.”

India and China, that contain one third of the world's TB sufferers - have noted progress in beating the disease.

Both countries have enforced the fight against TB by the means of the DOTS-therapy, which is recommended by the WHO and consists of five points, among them a continuous taking of medicine. There has been an increase in the number of patients who have received DOTS-therapy - up eight per cent on the previous year.

In Indonesia and the Philippines similar progress is made.

Beside Africa TB is advancing in Eastern Europe where many patients suffer from a type of TB which is resistant against antibiotics. The appliance of the DOTS-therapy in the countries of the former Soviet Union is only slowly acceding.

Since 1995 more than 17 million TB-patients have been treated with the DOTS-therapy. According to the WHO this result can even be improved. But for the exploration of clinical diagnostics, drugs and vaccines a billion US-dollars (or 766 million Euro) are lacking each year.

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