India has most TB cases globally, says latest WHO report

India is the leading contributor and among the top six countries that accounts to 60% of the world’s tuberculosis (TB) burden, says latest report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The report said that India’s TB burden is higher than previously estimated. The top six nations are India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa. They have accounted for 60 per cent of the cases across the world.

According to the report, an estimated 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015 across the globe, of whom 0.4 million were co-infected with HIV.

It said while the global TB deaths fell by 22% between 2000 and 2015, gaps in testing for TB and reporting new cases remain major challenges. Of the estimated 10.4 million new cases, only 6.1 million were detected and officially notified in 2015, leaving a gap of 4.3 million.

global-tb-burden-new-x700This gap is due to underreporting of TB cases especially in countries with large unregulated private sectors, and under-diagnosis in countries with major barriers to accessing care.

“The dismal progress in the TB response is a tragedy for the millions of people suffering from this disease. To save more lives now, we must get newly recommended rapid tests, drugs and regimens to those who need them.  Current actions and investments fall far short of what is needed,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme.

The report said that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis. While WHO estimates that 4,80,000 people fell ill with MDR-TB in 2015, its report said that India is among the three countries that carry the major burden of MDR-TB globally.