With 1.6 Million Deaths In 2021, Tuberculosis Mortality Went Up During COVID Pandemic: WHO

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With 1.6 Million Deaths In 2021, Tuberculosis Mortality Went Up During COVID Pandemic: WHO

The number of people newly detected with TB went down from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020. This had a recovery o 6.4 million in 2021; however, this was still well below pre-pandemic numbers.

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Approximately 10.6 million people across the globe fell sick with tuberculosis (TB) in 2021, a substantial increase of nearly 4.5 per cent from 2020, with 1.6 million people losing their lives due to TB (including 1,87,000 among HIV-positive individuals), as per the World Health Organization's 2022 Global TB report.

TB- A Fetal Disease

The obligation of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) went up by 3 per cent during 2020 and 2021, with nearly 4,50,000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) in 2021. This also marked the first time in years that a spike Was reported in the number of individuals falling ill with TB and drug-resistant TB.

TB services are, among many others, disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021; however, its effect on the TB response has been unusually fierce. The conflicts across Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East have also worsened the situation for vulnerable populations.

'Working Together, We Can End TB': WHO

"If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that with solidarity, determination, innovation and the equitable use of tools, we can overcome severe health threats. Let's apply those lessons to tuberculosis. It is time to put a stop to this long-time killer. Working together, we can end TB," Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, was quoted as saying in an official release.

Persistent difficulties with accessing and providing essential TB services have meant that many people worldwide with TB were not diagnosed and treated. The number of people newly detected with TB went down from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020. This had a recovery o 6.4 million in 2021; however, this was still well below pre-pandemic numbers.

A fall in the reported number of people detected with TB suggests that the number of individuals with untreated and undiagnosed TB has gone up, resulting first in a spike in TB deaths and more community transmission of TB infection and then, with some lag-time, increased numbers of people developing TB.

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Writer : Snehadri Sarkar
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