WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Tuberculosis decline too slow to eliminate virus this century

Tuberculosis spores | Courtesy of thesun.co.uk
The current rate of decline in tuberculosis (TB) cases in 2013 is too slow for health professionals to entirely eliminate the disease within this century, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today.

TB rates fell by 6 percent in 2013, amounting to 64,844 cases in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA), according to a report published by the ECDC and the World Health Organization's Regional Office for Europe. In 2012, there were 68,000 TB cases. The majority of the TB patients were foreigners.

For the past 10 years, the EU/EEA has had its lowest number of TB cases ever, but not all of the countries have the same rate of progression. This poses serious challenges to the area’s efforts to control and eliminate TB.

Countries such as Romania, which is marked as having a high incidence of TB, had 26 percent of the 64,844 TB cases for 2013.

Alternatively, some countries have low-incidence rates, which means that these areas may have fewer TB cases than others. These areas include Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

“Our data show a Europe in need of tailored interventions, which target each country’s settings,” Marc Sprenger, ECDC director, said.
“At the current pace of an annual 6 percent decline, the EU/EEA will only be free of tuberculosis in the next century. In order to achieve elimination by 2050, for example, we would have to cut down cases at least twice as fast.”

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