Pakistan calls for 50 precent drop in TB by 2015

Pakistan's National Tuberculosis Control Program this week called for a 50 percent drop in TB incidence and mortality rates by the year 2015.

The announcement was made by Dr. M. Zabihullah, who works with the Association for Community Development. Zabihullah addressed a one day media orientation session for journalists on the subject of TB in Pakistan, according to

The purpose of the session, according to Zabihullah, was to help protect people from TB infection, while helping those with TB to receive proper treatment. He also hopes to lessen the stigma attached to TB patients in Pakistan.

Zabihullah said that Pakistan's TB Control Program was capable of providing high quality treatment to patients with help from international aid organizations such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He stressed the promotion of officially provided medication for TB patients that are available in public sector TB centers and officially recognized private medical facilities, reports.

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If not treated, the illness can be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

TB bacteria can live inside a person without making them sick. Latent TB infection can be determined by a skin or blood test. Those with latent TB are not infectious, but, over time, the infection may become active.

Active TB may occur soon after a person is infected with TB bacteria, or may occur years later when a person's immune system can, for any reason, no longer keep the TB bacteria in check. Those with active TB will develop symptoms of the illness, including a bad cough, weakness and fatigue, weight loss, chills or fever.