Updated 25 October 2013

SA reeling under increased TB infections

The World Health Organisation says apart from India, South Africa has shown the largest increase in the identification of multiple drug-resistant TB patients in the world.

The World Health Organisation says the incidence of tuberculosis infection in South Africa is about 1 000 or more cases per 100 00 people this year.

The organisation’s Global TB report for 2013 says infections has decreased internationally, but about three million infected people escaped diagnosis so far this year.

South Africa, along with India and Ukraine, recorded the largest increases in the identification of multiple drug-resistant TB patients eligible for treatment.

South Africa had the second highest number of such cases, after India, the report stated.

Fewer cases

The report indicated that South Africa had widening treatment coverage gaps, along with China and Pakistan.

In countries such as New Zealand and Japan 10 or fewer cases per 100 000 people were recorded.

About three-quarters of the estimated 2.9 million people who were either not diagnosed, or diagnosed but not reported to national TB control programmes, were in 12 countries.

Almost half of the world's TB cases are in South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

By last year, the TB mortality rate had been reduced by 45% since 1990, according to the report.

Not treated

"Quality TB care for millions worldwide has driven down TB deaths," the Organisation's global TB programme director Mario Raviglione said in a statement.

"But far too many people are still missing out on such care and are suffering as a result. They are not diagnosed, nor treated and information on the quality of care they receive is unknown."

Osamu Kunii, head of the strategy, investment and impact division of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said there was no room for complacency, despite this progress.

"We are now at a crucial moment where we cannot afford to let these gains go into reverse.

“We need the commitment of the international community to address a significant funding gap to fight this disease."





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