A new report reveals tuberculosis is on the retreat in Europe but officials remain deeply concerned about the rise in drug-resistant forms of the disease.
The news comes in a joint report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), launched as part of a week-long series of events to mark World Tuberculosis Day 2012.
“Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious lung disease which is thought to affect around one third of the world’s population. Vaccines exist against TB but are most effective in young children. Currently the disease kills seven people every hour in Europe, according to the WHO. Thus there is a push to develop a novel vaccine for adult pulmonary TB. ”
The latest figures are a mixed bag. On the one hand there were 74,000 cases of TB reported in 2010. This is
On the other hand, the proportion of people with a form of TB which is particularly difficult to treat appears to have risen.
Drug-resistant TB poses a serious threat to efforts to eliminate the disease and has been described by the WHO and ECDC as “alarming”.
Launching the latest report, ECDC Director Marc Sprenger said TB often thrives in cities where people who inject drugs, homeless people and migrants are disproportionately affected.
Last week the ECDC and WHO Europe held an open Q&A session with TB experts. You can look back at the conversation using #TBchat hashtag.