New data shows higher global burden of tuberculosis

Posted at 11:46 AM, Oct 23, 2014

New data collection efforts on tuberculosis have revealed unwelcome news: There are almost half a million more cases worldwide than previously estimated.

According to the World Health Organization's Global Tuberculosis Report 2014, published Wednesday, October 22, 9 million people developed TB in 2013.

1.5 million people died of the disease, and 360,000 of those that died were HIV positive.

Though the number of cases is higher than expected, the WHO stresses that the TB mortality rate continues to fall. The rate has dropped 45 percent since 1990. 

The number of people developing the disease is declining at a rate of 1.5 percent a year.

Since 2000, the WHO estimates that 37 million lives have been saved through effective diagnosis of the disease and better treatment.

The WHO report confirms that TB is the second biggest killer disease from a single infectious agent. HIV/ AIDS is the biggest killer.

“Following a concerted effort by countries, by WHO and by multiple partners, investment in national surveys and routine surveillance efforts has substantially increased. This is providing us with much more and better data, bringing us closer and closer to understanding the true burden of tuberculosis,”  Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Program, said in a news release.

According to the WHO, insufficient funding is hampering efforts to combat the TB epidemic. An estimated $8 billion in funding is needed each year for a full response, and there is currently an annual shortfall of $2 billion.

Click here to read the full WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2014.