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TB epidemic around the world

Submitted by on February 1, 2011 – 3:55 pm

TB is a worldwide pandemic. Among the 15 countries with the highest estimated TB incidence rates, 13 are in Africa, while a third of all new cases are in India and China. More than two billion people, equal to one third of the world’s total population, are infected with TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB.  TB is a disease of poverty, affecting mostly young adults in their most productive years. TB is a leading cause of death among people with HIV, who have weakened immune systems.

 A major challenge in treating this disease is the development of drug resistant TB in the population.  Of particular concern is the development of multi-drug-resistant forms of the disease (MDR-TB).  This form of the disease is more often fatal and is difficult and expensive to treat.

There are alot of organizations who are actively trying to  stop the spread of this disease.  The World Health Organization(WHO) is a leader in this fight and provides alot of programs and information on TB. They also have  a website outlining their effort to end TB  deaths by 2015, read more about  the Stop TB Partnership here.

Drug-resistant TB has emerged as a major challenge facing TB-control efforts and the number of drug -resistant TB cases has risen in recent year. The Eli Lilly company started the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership in to help face this challenge.  The Partnership's goal is to contain and eventually conquer MDR-TB (multi- drug resistant TB) by increasing access to effective treatments in high-burden countries, and by focusing global resources on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of patients with MDR-TB - who are some of the world's most vulnerable people and least able to fight.

There are also organizations and companies trying to develop vaccines to protect people around the world from  TB. Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation is dedicated to developing new TB vaccines regimens that will prevent tuberculosis in all age groups and will be affordable and available  worldwide.

To learn more about the global TB epidemic visit these links:

World Health Organization TB Fact Sheet: http://www.who.int/tb/publications/factsheets/en/index.html

Center for Disease Control TB Web page: http://www.cdc.gov/tb/

Kaiser Family Foundation The Global TB Epidemic Fact sheet: http://www.kff.org/globalhealth/7883.cfm

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