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TB growth stabilises after world effort

Wed March 25th, 2009

Worldwide efforts to combat the resurgence of TB seem to be having some impact - and the spread of the disease has been halted, it was announced today.

To mark World Tuberculosis Day, the World Health Organisation has released a new report on the global battle against the disease.

They report that the number of new tuberculosis (TB) cases remained stable in 2007. The percentage of the world's population becoming ill with TB is continuing to decline slowly.

Nevertheless, one in four TB deaths are among HIV-infected people - a higher figure than expected when HIV testing of TB patients was less common.

The 2009 Global TB Control Report states that the quality of information coming from countries around the world has improved, and is now more accurate.

Dr Margaret Chan, of the WHO, commented: "These findings point to an urgent need to find, prevent and treat tuberculosis in people living with HIV and to test for HIV in all patients with TB in order to provide prevention, treatment and care. Countries can only do that through stronger collaborative programmes and stronger health systems that address both diseases."

Dr Michel Kazatchkine of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria added: "We have made remarkable progress against both TB and HIV in the last few years. But, TB still kills more people with HIV than any other disease. The financial crisis must not derail the implementation of the Global Plan to Stop TB."

Meanwhile, there has been a two per cent rise in cases of TB in the UK, from 8,496 cases reported in 2007 to 8,679 in 2008. Dr Ibrahim Abubakar of the Health Protection Agency said this figure "is still too high".

Tags: UK News | World Health | Respiratory | Flu & Viruses

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