Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Most TB cases found in India

Three million people develop tuberculosis in the Southeast Asian region every year, India reporting 22 per cent of these, and over half a million die of the disease, says the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) report released on Monday.

The 11 countries of the region which account for 25 per cent of the world's population carry more than one-third of the global burden of tuberculosis, the report said.


India and China record the highest number of TB cases globally, it said and added that, besides India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand are part of the high burden countries.

Of the 22 countries that record TB, these five countries together have over two million cases or 95 per cent of all cases globally.

The 11 countries included in the report are India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Timor-Leste, and North Korea.

Releasing the report on World TB Day, Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO's regional director for the Southeast Asia region, said there should be a “concerted action globally, nationally and locally” to contain TB.

“There is emerging evidence of a reversal in the burden of TB in this region,” he added.

“The impact of TB is reducing and it is remarkable to note that there are TB driven programmes in this region that have been instrumental in bringing down the number,” said Jai P. Narain, WHO's director for communicable diseases.

He said India and Indonesia alone contribute 40 per cent of the total cases reported in the region. India's share is 22 per cent.

“The region, with 4.97 million TB cases, carries over one-third of the global burden of TB," said the Tuberculosis in the Southeast Asia region 2008 report.

“Most cases occur in the age group of 15-54 years, with males being disproportionately affected in the region,” the report said.

Though deaths due to TB have declined after introduction of DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short course) in the region, the disease still claims more than 500,000 lives each year, it said.

The report said an overall case detection rate of 68 per cent was achieved in 2006 in the region, close to the global target of 70 per cent.

It said that all member countries are in the process of implementing the new Stop TB strategy through their multi-year national TB control plans.

But it said that establishing an adequate network of quality assured laboratories for performing drug susceptibility testing (DST) remains a main challenge for the region.

“Interventions for the management of MDR-TB (multi-drug resistant TB) cases under the national programmes have been developed and implemented by Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Nepal,” the report said.

It underlines that over the next 10 years the countries in the region should teat and cure 25 million TB patients, including those with HIV co-infection and drug-resistant TB.

“Save at least five million people from dying from TB and prevent at least one million cases of multi-drug-resistant TB," the report emphasised.

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