India slowing down global fight against TB
Tuberculosis cases missing detection in India and China are jeopardising global efforts to slash new infections by 2015, says the World Health Organization in its 12th annual report on global tuberculosis control released in Geneva. In 2006, the detection rate fell to 3 per cent from 6 per cent in the preceding five years.
India has 2.5 million people living with HIV, and tuberculosis remains the largest single cause of death in India, with 1.7 million new cases annually.
Globally, there were 9.2 million new cases and 1.7 million deaths from tuberculosis in 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available. Of these, 700,000 cases and 200,000 deaths were among people infected with HIV, virus that causes AIDS.
The African, Southeast Asian and Western Pacific regions accounted for 83 per cent of total cases reported. India, China, Indonesia, South Africa and Nigeria rank as the top five countries in terms of absolute numbers of tuberculosis cases. Africa has the highest incidence rate per capita, 363 per 100,000.
For every five TB cases diagnosed globally in 2006, four went undetected. The WHO estimates only 61 percent of all TB cases worldwide are registered. In 2006, some 9.2 million new cases of TB were detected against 9.1 million in 2005. Including non-detected cases, there were 14.4 million cases of the disease worldwide in 2006, estimates the WHO.
“Progress in detecting new cases of tuberculosis is slowing, threatening to increase the risks of transmitting drug-resistant strains, 50 per cent of which occur in India and China. 2006 documents a slowing of progress – the rate at which new cases were detected increased only slightly compared to recent years,” said WHO director-general Margaret Chan.
Drug resistant TB occurs when the bacterium becomes resistant to the more commonly used drugs when patients don't complete a full course of treatment lasting about six months. Drug-resistant TB, like the regular form, can be transmitted through the air to a non-infected person.