ECDC Director Sprenger: Europe must be vigilant against Tuberculosis

Director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control Marc Sprenger said on Wednesday at the Week of Annual Meetings of European Tuberculosis Networks that Europe must remain vigilant against the threat of Tuberculosis.

The ECDC is an EU agency that was established in 2005 and is seated in Stockholm, Sweden. It seeks to strengthen Europe's defenses against infectious disease.

Tuberculosis is a common infectious disease cause by various strains of mycobacteria. Tuberculosis attacks the lungs, but it also known for attacking other parts of the body as well. It is spread by coughing and sneezing from people with TB.

The symptoms of TB are a chronic cough with blood in the spittle, fever, night sweats and weight loss. If left untreated, TB kills more than 50 percent of those who are infected. Tuberculosis is easily preventable with vaccines and screening programs.

While TB is gradually decreasing in Europe, more than 72,000 cases were reported in 2011.

"We need to remain vigilant," Sprenger said. "TB in Europe needs to be taken seriously."

The main theme of the meetings revolved around the monitoring of the progress made in TB prevention and control efforts. The event is bringing together numerous experts in the field of TB, which will facilitate and promote the discussion of the common goal of eliminating TB in Europe.

"The platform provides a good overview of what has been achieved but also tries to identify what additional efforts are needed to achieve the ultimate target to eliminate TB," Sprenger said.