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  ‘Tuberculosis rivals AIDS as leading cause of death’

‘Tuberculosis rivals AIDS as leading cause of death’

REUTERS | JULIE STEENHUYSEN
Published : Oct 29, 2015, 1:57 am IST
Updated : Oct 29, 2015, 1:57 am IST

For the first time, tuberculosis infections rivaled HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of death from infectious diseases, the World Health Organisation said in a report released on Wednesday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron. (Photo: AFP)
 British Prime Minister David Cameron. (Photo: AFP)

For the first time, tuberculosis infections rivaled HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of death from infectious diseases, the World Health Organisation said in a report released on Wednesday.

It found that during 2014, 1.1 million people died of TB in 2014. During the same period, HIV/AIDS killed 1.2 million people globally, including 400,000 who were infected with both HIV and TB.

Dr Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO TB program, said the report reflects the dramatic gains in access to HIV/AIDS treatment in the past decade, which has helped many people survive their infections. But it also reflects disparities in funding for the two global killers.

“The good news is that TB intervention has saved some 43 million lives since 2000,” but given that most cases of TB can be successfully treated, the death rate remained “unacceptably high”, Dr Raviglione said in a telephone interview.

The report features data from 205 countries and territories on all aspects of TB, including drug-resistant forms, research and development and financing.

It found that six million new cases of TB were reported to the WHO in 2014, fewer than two-thirds of the 9.6 million people worldwide estimated to have fallen sick with TB in 2014.

Among the estimated 480,000 cases of multi-drug resistant TB in 2014 — a superbug form of the disease that resists the two most potent anti-TB drugs — only one in four was diagnosed.

Dr Grania Brigden, medical director of Doctors Without Borders, said the report “should serve as a wake-up call”.

Location: United States, Illinois, Chicago