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TB cases fall worldwide

Wednesday October 12th, 2011

The world has been winning the battle against TB - but the financial crisis may jeopardise further progress, according to a major report published yesterday.

Some 8.8 million people developed the disease last year - and deaths fell to 1.4 million, according to the World Health Organisation.

This compared with 1.8 million deaths in 2003, it said.

WHO said it was the first time the number of people succumbing to the disease had fallen.

WHO says that 87 per cent of patients who were treated in 2009 were cured. But as many as a third of cases are not notified to the authorities.

The biggest successes against TB have been recorded in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Brazil and China.

WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan said: "In many countries, strong leadership and domestic financing, with robust donor support, has started to make a real difference in the fight against TB.

"The challenge now is to build on that commitment, to increase the global effort - and to pay particular attention to the growing threat of multidrug-resistant TB."

And the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added: "Fewer people are dying of tuberculosis, and fewer are falling ill. This is major progress. But it is no cause for complacency.

"Too many millions still develop TB each year, and too many die. I urge serious and sustained support for TB prevention and care, especially for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people."

Tags: Africa | Asia | Respiratory | World Health

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