World TB Day
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and mostly affects the lungs but may affect the central nervous system (brain) and gastrointestinal tract. A total of 1.6 million people died from TB in 2021 (including 187 000 people with HIV). Worldwide, TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19 (above HIV/AIDS).
Treatment with antibiotics for 4 or 6 months under the guidance and support of trained healthcare providers usually guarantees cure. Adherence to treatment is difficult without the direct supervision of healthcare worker.
There is an emergence of multidrug-resistant TB strains which may require a more intensive chemotherapy regimen (up to 20 months of treatment). Multidrug resistant TB is an emerging public health crisis and health security threat.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets to end the TB epidemic by 2030. This goal requires stakeholder involvement in the education, prevention, improved diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis.
TB diagnosis can be difficult, however molecular diagnostic tests with high diagnostic accuracy are recommended for initial testing since these lead to major improvements in early detection of TB and drug – resistant TB.