Tuberculosis deaths fall in Europe, ECDC reports
The number of people developing and dying from tuberculosis (TB) is decreasing in Europe, but among the most vulnerable - including prisoners, migrants, and people living with HIV - there have been disturbing increases, the Reuters reported on Monday.
Figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Europe regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) showed new tuberculosis cases and deaths in more than fifty countries fell each year by 4.3 and 8.5 percent respectively between 2011 and 2015.
But new co-infections with TB and HIV together increased by 40 percent from 2011 to 2015, showing that efforts to control the disease need to be far more focused on high-risk groups.
"The general downward trend in reported TB cases is encouraging," the ECDC's acting director, Andrea Ammon, said in a statement. "But some groups are not benefiting from this trend, and we need to target our efforts better if we want to end the TB epidemic."
She said providing testing to all TB patients for HIV, and vice versa, followed by counselling and rapid treatment, could reverse the negative co-infection trend.
Global figures released last year by the WHO showed that in 2015, some 1.8 million people died from TB. Of them, 400,000 were co-infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.