Tuberculosis cases rise for the first time in decades, health initiatives hit due to COVID-19 pandemic


The rapid increase in tuberculosis cases since the global pandemic, and especially the high death toll, confirms that progress in tuberculosis control over the past 20 years has stalled, slowed, or reversed.

Before the 2020 outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused the COVID-19 global pandemic, tuberculosis (TB) caused more deaths than any other infectious disease worldwide, but public health in the US and globally Due to the steps taken for the betterment of TB, there was a steady decline in the incidence of tuberculosis over the decades. I am an infectious disease physician and have been providing care to underserved communities in America for over two decades. For the first time during the pandemic, it appears that tuberculosis cases have decreased through the prevention efforts of COVID-19, like many other common diseases like ‘flu’. But tuberculosis cases are back to the same level as before the global pandemic.

For the first time in the last several decades, there has been an increase in the figures of its cases and deaths due to it globally. Not only did the global pandemic disrupt critical health initiatives for tuberculosis, it also reduced social and economic opportunities for marginalized people around the world. These factors seem to have seriously hindered the fight against tuberculosis. Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic Tuberculosis – Tuberculosis or tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection of the lungs, usually spread through the air. Most cases of tuberculosis show no symptoms and are not contagious. Only about five to 10 percent of people infected with it show symptoms of tuberculosis, which include cough, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

If tuberculosis is not treated, it can take the form of a very contagious and dangerous disease, which can also lead to death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the total estimated number of patients infected with tuberculosis in the world was declining over the years. The lowest one crore one lakh cases were reported in the year 2020. Its cases saw a slight increase in 2021, when one crore five lakh cases were reported. For the first time in more than a decade, an increase in its cases was recorded. A similar change was observed in the worldwide tuberculosis death figures. In 2019, the lowest estimated 1.4 million people succumbed to tuberculosis. Then in 2020 the death toll increased to 15 lakh and in 2021 to 16 lakh.

Increased TB testing is also an important reason for the rise in cases since 2019. Tuberculosis is a social disease – Thanks to effective vaccines, screening and treatment, tuberculosis is now a preventable disease. Millions of people around the world are still suffering from this disease. This is because of lack of medical understanding and social inequality. Unequal access to economic opportunities, limited health care, poor sanitation, poor living conditions, malnutrition, and diseases such as diabetes or HIV are all associated with an increased risk of tuberculosis. Racial and ethnic minority groups account for more than 85 percent of tuberculosis cases in the United States in 2021. Of these, 71 percent were those who were born outside the United States. Rise in cases due to rising inequality – Even as the world saw a sharp decline in confirmed cases in 2020, experts were concerned that the number of patients infected with tuberculosis could increase, hampering prevention and treatment efforts.

These apprehensions proved to be correct. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as many health experts confirm that the global pandemic has affected access to tuberculosis testing and diagnosis. Many cases went undetected due to interruptions in tuberculosis control activities as all personnel, funds, resources were devoted to efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the similarity between the symptoms of corona virus infection and tuberculosis also led to misdiagnosis. The rapid increase in tuberculosis cases since the global pandemic, and especially the high death toll, confirms that progress in tuberculosis control over the past 20 years has stalled, slowed, or reversed.

Disclaimer:IndiaTheNews has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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