Tuberculosis diagnoses have been rising year on year for the first time in two decades, according to a report by the World Health Organization.
The global health agency reported that 10.6 million people were confirmed to have TB in 2021, up 4.5 percent from the previous year.
The surge — coinciding with a rise in a drug-resistant strain of infection — reverses years of declines between 2005 and 2019.
About 1.6 million people died from tuberculosis worldwide in 2021, up from 1.5 million in 2020 and 1.4 million in 2019 and back to 2017 levels.
WHO said about 450,000 cases were in people infected with antibiotic-resistant TB, up 3 percent from 2020.
The TB resurgence in 2021 is thought to be the result of fewer cases being diagnosed in 2020 during the Covid lockdowns and hospital restrictions.
The pandemic “continues to have a detrimental impact on access to TB diagnosis and treatment,” the report said.
“Progress made in the years leading up to 2019 has slowed, stalled or reversed, and global TB targets are off course,” she added.
The WHO said an immediate impact of the pandemic on TB is a sharp global decline in the number of people newly diagnosed and reported (i.e. officially notified) with TB in 2020 compared to 2019
TB primarily affects adults, particularly those who are malnourished, HIV-positive or have other medical conditions, and about 95 percent of cases are reported in developing countries
The estimated number of tuberculosis deaths increased between 2019 and 2021 and reversed the years of decline between 2005 and 2019
As fewer people will be diagnosed with the highly contagious disease in 2020, more of them may have unknowingly passed it on to other people, the WHO warned.
What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection transmitted between people through coughing and sneezing.
The infection usually affects the lungs, but the bacteria can cause problems in any part of the body, including the abdomen, glands, bones, and nervous system.
TB infection causes symptoms such as fever, cough, night sweats, weight loss, tiredness and fatigue, loss of appetite, and swelling in the neck.
If the immune system does not contain TB bacteria, it can take weeks or months for the infection to take hold and cause symptoms, and if left untreated, it can be fatal.
TB is most common in less developed countries in sub-Saharan and West Africa, Southeast Asia, Russia, China and South America.
Officials added that the global economic downturn is also a factor, saying about half of all TB patients and their families face “catastrophic overall costs” from their treatment.
After COVID-19, TB is the deadliest infectious disease in the world. It’s caused by bacteria attacking the lungs, although TB can also affect other parts of your body, including the kidneys, spine, or brain.
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are transmitted from person to person through tiny airborne droplets released when people cough and sneeze.
TB primarily affects adults, particularly those who are malnourished, HIV positive, or have other medical conditions. The vast majority of cases, 95 percent, are reported in developing countries.
Left untreated, about half of all TB cases are fatal. However, according to the report, only one in three people with drug-resistant tuberculosis is treated.
dr Hannah Spencer, MSF tuberculosis and HIV specialist in South Africa, said: “Drug-resistant tuberculosis is curable, but alarmingly, cases are increasing for the first time in years.”
“There is an urgent need for shorter, safer and more effective treatments to be scaled up now,” she added.
dr Spencer called for a reduction in the cost of TB drugs so that a typical treatment would cost no more than $500.
The World Health Organization also said ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East have worsened opportunities for patients seeking TB diagnosis and treatment.
Ukraine had one of the worst TB epidemics in the world even before Russia invaded the country in February. Health experts fear that patients’ inability to receive treatment could fuel the rise of more drug-resistant TB across the Region.
While TB patients displaced by war can be treated in Ukraine, the country faces shortages of essential medicines and authorities face challenges keeping track of patients.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/global-tuberculosis-diagnoses-rise-for-the-first-time-in-20-years/ Global tuberculosis diagnoses are rising for the first time in 20 years