An Entirely Curable Disease Is A Top 10 Killer Around The World

For the second year in a row, TB was the world’s top killer among infectious diseases, surpassing HIV/AIDS. Last year, 1.1 million people died from HIV/AIDS ― and 400,000 of those deaths involved coinfections of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

The high mortality numbers from TB are a major cause for concern, public health officials say.

“As the leading infectious disease killer on the planet, as a killer that we have the ability to diagnose, treat and cure, we have every reason to want to shift our attention to focus on tuberculosis and aggressively challenge the global health community to prioritize TB,” said Eric Goosby, the United Nations special envoy on tuberculosis. 

The number of new TB cases rose to an estimated 10.4 million in 2015, up from the original estimate of 9.6 million in 2014. Officials attributed the increase to better surveillance data, which more accurately capture the scope of the epidemic, particularly in India.

“Whenever we start seriously looking to find TB, we find more of it than we thought was there,” said David Bryden, a tuberculosis advocacy officer for the nonprofit advocacy group Results.  

Experts stressed that the overall rate of new tuberculosis cases actually decreased 1.5 percent between 2014 and 2015, due to a revision upward of the original 2014 numbers. However, this rate of decline is far short of the 4-5 percent annual decrease in new tuberculosis cases needed to get to the 2020 milestones laid out in the WHO End TB Strategy.

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