Tuberculosis deaths have declined sharply over the past decade, but the disease still kills thousands of people around the world every day.
Tuberculosis is about to overtake HIV and AIDS as the leading cause of death worldwide from infectious diseases. According to a report from Reuters, the World Health Organization announced on Wednesday that despite progress in treating the infectious disease, it still manages to kill thousands of people every day around the world.
In 2014, 1.1 million people died from tuberculosis. Over the same period, 1.2 million people died from HIV/AIDS worldwide, and 400,000 people who were infected with both diseases died the same year.
According to Dr. Mario Raviglione, the director of the WHO’s TB program, recent access to HIV/AIDs medications over the course of the past decade has drastically reduced mortality rates from the disease as more people are able to survive with their infections. But HIV and AIDS research has received global attention and funding, whereas tuberculosis did not weigh as heavy on the world’s mind over the past ten years.
“The good news is that TB intervention has saved 43 million lives since 2000,” says Raviglione. He still thinks that the death rate is unreasonably high considering that the disease can be treated and cured with currently available techniques.
The report gathers data from 205 different countries and catalogues the different strains of TB, recent studies and financial reports. The WHO found that there were 6 million new tuberculosis cases in 2014, down from 9.6 million cases the year prior. Some 480,000 of these cases were resistant to multiple medications, and fears of a ‘superbug’ were justified among medical professionals.
The press release from the United Nations outlining the recent report’s findings can be read here.