Number of TB patients jumped to 2.8M in India in 2015: WHO

Number of TB patients jumped to 2.8M in India in 2015: WHO

In a bid to more efficiently battle tuberculosis (TB), a disease that kills more people worldwide than any other communicable disease, India is going to radically overhaul and expand its national treatment program.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the estimated number of new TB patients in India jumped to 2.8 million in 2015, from 2.2 million in the previous year. It may be noted here that India has more TB patients than any other country in the world.

TB is a deadly bacterial disease that primarily affects the victim's lungs. However, it is totally curable with a cocktail of various antibiotics that must be taken regularly for six months.

The Indian government has plans to overhaul and expand numerous pilot programs, with a goal to make sure that all TB patients are adequately treated and monitored so they complete the six-month course to get rid of the disease.

Dr. Sreenivas Nair, the world health agency's TB officer in India, said, "For TB, what's required is proper surveillance. Why we eradicated polio is because we know where the cases are and take action."

Globally, the number of TB patients increased from 9.6 million in 2014 to 10.4 million in 2015, largely because of revised numbers of patients in India, Indonesia and some other countries. Last year, the disease killed more than 480,000 people in India alone, accounting for around a quarter of nearly 1.8 million deaths worldwide.


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