Tuberculosis affecting millions as cases double

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In a recently released WHO report, more than 9 million new cases of tuberculosis were recorded worldwide in 2007. The 9,270,000 cases recorded 30,000 cases more than the preceding year, 2006.

The report also indicates that 1 million 370 thousand people are affected by both HIV – the AIDS virus – and by the tuberculosis bacillus.

According to the report, one death from tuberculosis in every four is linked to HIV, double the number of cases recorded prior to the new study. In total, the World Health Organisation recorded 456,000 deaths due to co-infections in 2006.

“In the light of these findings”, WHO Director General Margaret Chan points out that there is an “urgent” need “to identify, prevent and treat tuberculosis in people living with HIV and to make sure that everyone suffering from tuberculosis is screened for HIV.

The five countries most affected by tuberculosis in descending order are: India, China, Indonesia, South Africa and Nigeria. Within the European Union, the incidence of tuberculosis fell by 12% between 2003 and 2007.

It is however in Africa that the disease is wreaking the most havoc. The African continent alone accounts for 33% of new tuberculosis cases. In a space of 17 years, that is; between 1990 and 2007, the incidence of tuberculosis has doubled.

Health file  The lack of education and political will, poverty, out-moded traditional beliefs, to mention but a few, have been widely blamed for causing severe and sometimes unwarranted health catastrophies of genocidal proportions on the African continent. Child killer diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, water borne diseases, HIV/AIDS, among other preventable ailments have killed millions in their wake. As rightly said by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on May 13, 2000 "More people (...) died of Aids in the past year (1999-2000, ndlr) in Africa than in all the wars on the continent".
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