India facing mounting TB infections

India had the highest burden of tuberculosis in 2009 with close to 2 million new cases, a new study has revealed.

Out of the 1.3 million people worldwide who died of TB in 2008, India accounted for 280,000 of them, the Times of India reports.

The TB mortality rate has fallen by 35 percent since 1990, according to the Times of India, though the disease still claimed the lives of 1.7 million people in 2009. India’s case detection in 2009 was around 67 percent and there were an estimated 99,000 cases of multi-drug resistant TB.

The World Health Organization’s “Global Tuberculosis Control 2010” report revealed that close to 4,700 people die of TB every day worldwide. Tuberculosis cases remained steady at 9.4 million people contracting the disease in 2009, but the number of cases fell in 21 out of 22 of the countries with the highest burden, excluding only South Africa.

“There are still 1.7 million deaths a year from a disease that is perfectly curable in 2010,” Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO’s Stop TB unit, said, according to the Times of India. “At this pace, it will take millennia to get rid of TB. The main issue is in Russia, China and India, where most of the global (MDR) burden lies. India is a country which has seen the most spectacular increase in doing the right things in TB control.”

An estimated 6 million lives are saved annually when compared to 1995 as a result of improved treatment and detection.