12% decline in deaths due to TB in India last year: WHO
Death from tuberculosis in India saw a 12% decline from last year even as the number of new cases saw a 5% increase, according to a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Causes for rise in cases
The rise in cases was due to greater surveillance and the dip in mortality from 480,000 to 423,000 in 2016, due to improved drug management.
Globally, the TB mortality rate is falling at about 3% per year. TB incidence is falling at about 2% per year and 16% of TB cases die from the disease, according to the WHO.
How could India reduce the % of death due to TB
The World Health Organization report noted that India has almost tripled its budget for tuberculosis prevention, control and treatment programme as compared to last year.
The total amount spent on the country’s TB programme is $525 million, or about Rs 3,400 crore. Early this year, the government had announced it would eliminate tuberculosis in the country by 2025.
The government has committed to achieve a ‘90-90-90 target’ by 2035 (90% reductions in incidence, mortality and catastrophic health expenditures due to TB).
This is premised on improved diagnostics, shorter treatment courses, a better vaccine and comprehensive preventive strategies.
Tuberculosis cases in 2016
India topped the list of seven nations, accounting for 64 percent of the 10.4 million new tuberculosis (TB) cases worldwide in 2016, according to the Global TB Report 2017.
“In 2016, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, 10 percent of which were people living with HIV. Seven countries accounted for 64 percent of the total burden, with India bearing the brunt,” it said.
India is followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa.
What is TB?
TB is a disease which in humans is usually caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis). TB is an abbreviation of the word Tuberculosis and is how people often refer to the disease.
Bovine TB is a disease caused by similar bacteria called Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis). Bovine TB mainly affects cattle but can also affect humans. Most of the information on this website refers to TB in humans.
How do you get TB?
You get TB by breathing in TB bacteria that are in the air. The bacteria spread through the air from one person to another.
Bacteria get released into the air by some person who is already infected with them.
When a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, sings or talks, droplets containing the bacteria are released into the air. That is why people who think they may be infectious, may often hold something over their mouth when they are near to other people.
How long do the bacteria stay alive?
The bacteria can sometimes stay alive in the air for a few hours, especially in small places with no fresh air. Fresh air and sunlight make it harder for the bacteria to stay alive. The fresh air scatters the bacteria and the sunlight kills them.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms depend on which area of the body has been infected. If someone has pulmonary disease, which is TB in the lungs, then they may have a bad cough that lasts longer than two weeks. They may also have pain in their chest and they may cough up blood or phlegm from deep inside their lungs.
Other symptoms of TB include weakness or fatigue, weight loss, lack of appetite, chills, fever and night sweats.
TB can usually be cured. The treatment usually consists of a combination of TB drugs that must be taken for at least six months. But the treatment will only be successful if the drugs are taken exactly as required for the entire length of time.
A major part of the prevention of TB is to stop the spread of the bacteria from one adult to another. This is done by firstly finding the adults who have TB. Then providing them with effective treatment means that they are no longer infectious and they will also recover from being sick. There is a vaccine, the BCG vaccine, but it is used for children as it doesn’t seem to prevent the disease in adults.