In a stunning finding, the World Health Organization has claimed that almost one-third of the world population is infected with the TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB. One in 10 people infected with TB bacilli becomes sick with active TB in their lifetime, it said.
It also said that the top five countries with the largest number of cases are India, China, the Russian Federation, South Africa and Bangladesh.
Key findings of the WHO report are:
- There were 9.4 million new TB cases in 2008 (3.6 million of whom are women) including 1.4 million cases among people living with HIV
- The estimated global incidence rate fell to 139 cases per 100 000 population in 2008 after peaking in 2004 at 143 cases per 100 000. Rates are falling very slowly in 5 WHO regions (the rate is stabilizing in Europe). The total number of deaths and cases is still rising due to population growth. TB is contagious and spreads through the air. If not treated, each person with active TB infects on average 10 to 15 people every year
- There were 5.7 million TB case notifications in 2008. 36 million people were cured in DOTS programmes (between 1995-2008), with as many as 8 million deaths averted through DOTS
- The 87% global treatment success rate exceeded the 85% target for the first time since the target was set in 1991. 53 countries exceeded this 85% patient treatment target
- There were an estimated 500 000 new MDR-TB cases in 2007. Just over 1% of cases were receiving treatment in 2008 known to be based on WHO's recommended standards 5% of all TB cases have MDR-TB, based on data from more than 100 countries collected during the last decade 27 countries account for 85% of all MDR-TB cases.
- Extensively Drug Resistant TB-XDR-TB has been found in 57 countries to date
- In 2008, WHO reported that the highest rates of Multi Drug Resistant MDRTB ever recorded, with peaks of up to 22%