Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB (short for tubercle bacillus) is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit their saliva through the air. Most infections are asymptomatic and latent, but about one in 10 latent infections eventually progresses to active disease which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of those so infected.
Facts about TB
HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria kill 6 million people every year; nearly 2 million deaths are caused by TB.
TB is curable, but kills 5000 people every day.
TB is a disease of poverty; virtually all TB deaths occur in the developing world, affecting mostly young adults in their most productive years. TB especially affects the most vulnerable, such as the poorest and malnourished.
TB is a leading killer among HIV-infected people with weakened immune systems; a quarter of a million TB deaths are HIV-associated — most of them in Africa.
Global TB incidence is still growing at 1% every year because of the rapid increase in Africa; intense control efforts are helping incidence fall or stabilize in other regions.
2 billion people — one third of the world’s population — are infected with TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB. 1 in 10 people infected with TB bacilli will become sick with active TB in their lifetime; people with HIV are at a much greater risk.
TB is a worldwide pandemic; though the highest rates per capita are in Africa (29% of all TB cases), half of all news cases are in 6 Asian countries — Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a form of TB that does not respond to the standard drug treatment. MDR-TB is present in virtually all 109 countries recently surveyed by WHO and partners.
Almost 9 million new TB cases occurred in 2004 — 80% of them in 22 countries.
Professor Lakhbir Singh addressing Function