Health

European health agencies: Tuberculosis remains a health concern

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22 March 2021 8:13 AM GMT
European health agencies: Tuberculosis remains a health concern
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Tuberculosis (TB) remained a public health concern and was second to COVID-19 in terms of fatal infectious diseases in the European and Central Asian regions, two regional health agencies said on Monday. In 2019, the latest year where data was available, about 246,000 cases were reported, some 13,000 cases fewer than in 2018. The region accounted […]

Tuberculosis (TB) remained a public health concern and was second to COVID-19 in terms of fatal infectious diseases in the European and Central Asian regions, two regional health agencies said on Monday.

In 2019, the latest year where data was available, about 246,000 cases were reported, some 13,000 cases fewer than in 2018.

The region accounted for about 2.5 per cent of global TB cases, according to the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Copenhagen-based European office of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In the same year, WHO Europe estimated that 20,000 people had died of TB in the region.

“The COVID-19 pandemic risks halting progress in the fight against TB, with fewer tests carried out and fewer patients treated.

“With fewer people being tested, there was a risk that “people with undiagnosed TB are not getting the treatment they need and run the risk of infecting others,” the agencies said.

Other concerns included more cases of multidrug-resistant forms of TB, making treatment more challenging.

“Today, the risk of drug-resistant TB becoming even more resistant is real, and it’s not a risk we want to take,” said Hans Kluge, WHO regional chief.

The 53-country WHO European region ranges from Iceland to Uzbekistan, including Russia and Turkey.

Eighteen countries, mainly in eastern and central Europe and central Asia, accounted for over 80 per cent of the region’s estimated number of TB cases.

Russia registered 73,000 cases, followed by Ukraine with 34,000, Uzbekistan with 22,000, and Romania, Turkey and Kazakhstan each with 13,000 cases, the report said.

The findings were published ahead of World Tuberculosis Day, which is on Wednesday.

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