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Drug Resistant TB, A Forgotten Killer

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    Posted: October 30 2017 at 3:54pm

A Lot Of People Think This Disease Is Extinct, But It's A Top 10 Killer Globally

Tuberculosis -- a treatable, curable disease -- kills approximately three people a minute.

30/10/2017 13:50 GMT

Tuberculosis, a treatable, curable disease, is still one of the top 10 causes of death, according to the World Health Organization.

TB follows heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as a top global killer. About 1.7 million people die from TB each year when accounting for co-infections of HIV, and approximately 10.4 million people fell ill with TB in 2016, according to the WHO’s latest Global Tuberculosis Report.

This is the third year in a row that TB has been the world’s top infectious killer, after surpassing HIV/AIDS in 2015. 

While the number of people who died from TB is down by about 100,000 since the release of the 2015 Global Tuberculosis Report last year, experts warn that the decrease is far from enough to meet the WHO goal of eliminating TB by 2030. Obstacles to reaching that goal include a lack of funding and research, detection and treatment gaps, and not enough political commitment, the report states.

“From the data point of view, you don’t see major differences from last year. People were expecting more progress in the way countries are facing it,” Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO Global TB Programme, told HuffPost. “You see the burden is remaining fairly high.”

Dr. Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the international Stop TB Partnership, told HuffPost that the numbers were “nowhere close to what we should see if we want to go forward.” Ditiu said millions more people will continue to die year after year without more progress toward eliminating the disease.

“This is like Groundhog Day ― it’s like a curse,” she said. “You go to bed, you wake up next year to the same numbers.”

The number of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis cases ― and the number of cases global health systems had been unable to find ― were particularly alarming, Ditiu said. 

Tuberculosis accounts for the largest number of antibiotic-resistant deaths globally, and experts fear the problem is getting further out of control.

The number of multidrug-resistant TB cases jumped by 10,000, to 490,000, while cases that are resistant to rifampicin, one of the key drugs used to treat TB, also jumped by 10,000, to 110,000.

And the WHO reported that only 129,689 people received treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis ― which is only about 22 percent of the estimated cases. Those who do not receive treatment will most likely die. 

Approximately 75 million more people could die of multidrug-resistant TB by 2050 if it continues to spread, a United Kingdom government report predicted.

The increase of drug-resistant cases and low treatment rate found in this year’s report can only mean an acceleration of transmission, Ditiu said.

And as the report itself says, progress in the fight against TB “is not fast enough to reach targets or to make major headway in closing persistent gaps.”

The WHO commitment is “commendable,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and a former CDC director. But he added, “It’s going to take a committed global effort, and years of more hard work, to bring an end to this disease.”

This is like Groundhog Day ― it’s like a curse. You go to bed, you wake up next year to the same numbers.Dr. Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the international Stop TB Partnership

A bright spot that both Ditiu and Raviglione pointed to was the upcoming ministerial conference focused on fighting TB in Russia ― which Russian President Vladimir Putin will headline next month ― and a high-level UN meetingfocused on TB next year.

“What is necessary is political commitment, which comes from visibility and an [acceptance] of the problem,” Raviglione explained. “It’s a big thing, and it’s very good that Russia has taken the leadership in paying for it and supporting it, and also a recognition of their own problem.”

Russia has one of the worst rates of multidrug resistant-TB in the world, along with India and China, so Raviglione hopes Putin’s acknowledgment and ownership of the tuberculosis burden in his country will encourage other global leaders follow suit. Putin will join Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one of the few major global leaders to speak publicly about the need to fight TB.

Ditiu hopes these high-level political meetings will help elevate the issue of tuberculosis’ deadly spread so heads of state can finally address it.

“This is a disaster,” she said. “When you have a curable disease that takes 6 months [to cure] and treatment can cost 30 dollars, it’s a bit unacceptable to be stuck here.”

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Source photos and updates:

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 30 2017 at 11:41pm
I am old enough to have felt peer pressure against spitting in the streets ...partly this was a reaction against TB that had only recently (in my parent's time) become treatable.   

It saddens me that this pressure is not being felt   Dead  just when we need to begin to take TB seriously in the West (and not just ignore it as a problem of poorer countries) as it becomes a problem to treat due to drug resistance

From the WHO fact sheet:
Originally posted by WHO WHO wrote:

In 2016, MDR-TB remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. WHO estimates that there were 600 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug – of which 490 000 had MDR-TB. The MDR-TB burden largely falls on 3 countries – China, India, and the Russian Federation – which together account for nearly half of the global cases. About 6.2% of MDR-TB cases had XDR-TB in 2016.

Worldwide, only 54% of MDR-TB patients and 30% of XDR-TB are currently successfully treated. In 2016,..........

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 31 2017 at 4:11am
Keep up your vitamin D levels.  For this vitamin, and only really this one, I advocate a vitamin pill. Natural sources of D are minor, our low fat diets are deficient in it, as it is fat soluble, you don't make much in the sunshine and it is the main immune modulator.

Odd though it might sound, healthy people do not usually get TB, even with regular exposure.  We fight the bug off when we encounter it.  Malnourished people and those with damaged immune systems fail to do so and once the bacterium has moved in it is fantastically difficult to get rid of.  Its first cousin leprosy is the same - though easier to shift.  It is a mycobacterium thing.
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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