world tb day

TB hasn't gone away - it's a silent killer

The disease affects 9 million people around the world every year.


IT MIGHT BE a disease that many of us in the developed world don’t give much of a thought to, but tuberculosis affects millions of people around the globe.

Today is World TB Day, when people are encouraged to donate to organisations helping those who are ill with the disease, and those fighting for a cure.

According to the Stop TB Partnership, every year nine million people get sick with TB – but three million don’t get the care they need.

Fighting TB

The organisation says that many of these three million people “live in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities and include groups such as migrants, miners, drug users and sex workers”.

We believe that no one should be left behind in the fight against TB. This World TB Day, we call for a global effort to find, treat and cure the three million and accelerate progress towards zero TB deaths, infections, suffering and stigma.

Medecin Sans Frontiéres said that data its teams have gathered suggests that the spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is greater than previously estimated.

With TB passed through coughs or sneezes, it’s obvious why developments in new treatments need to be made.

But according to Dr Jennifer Hughes, developments have “ground to a halt” in recent years, despite the fact that TB kills 1.5 million people very year and is the second-largest infectious killer worldwide.

The disease has all but disappeared in the world’s richer and more developed countries, but in countries such as South Africa, thousands of people are unknowingly being infected.

Said Hughes:

We need a brand new treatment regimen against TB. Treatment that actually works. Treatment that hasn’t been dredged up from the Dark Ages of modern medicine and re-used because, well, it’s better than nothing

To mark the day, the Lancet medical journal has taken a look at the latest news in the fight against TB. It says that there is a range of novel anti-tuberculosis drugs in preclinical development.

It also notes that there has also been progress in the development of anti-TB drugs that are active against dormant or persistent populations of mycobacterium TB.

To find out more about World TB Day, visit the Stop TB Partnership website.

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