This is staggering:

More than 20 million people with tuberculosis (TB) are living today because of successful care and treatment, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Is TB becoming rare?  Saundra Young at says not so fast:

“The global burden of TB remains enormous with 8.7 million new cases last year, over 1 million co-infected with HIV and 1.4 million deaths,” said Dr. Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO’s Stop TB Department. “The momentum to break this disease is in real danger.  We are now at a crossroads between TB elimination within our lifetime, and millions more TB deaths.”

TB is second only to HIV/AIDS in the number of people it kills.  According to the report, TB is one of the world’s top killers among women.  Last year alone, an estimated half million women succumbed to the disease.

New techniques to be able to make a diagnosis quicker and start medications faster have been developed and are becoming available.  However, Young cautions:

Progress is slow against multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), the report finds.  WHO estimates there are around 310,000 cases of MDR-TB worldwide, yet only about 60,000 cases worldwide or 1 in 5 patients are actually being treated.  Most of those who are not receiving treatment are in India and China, according to the report.

Drug resistance is a big problem everywhere.  For one-celled creatures, bacteria can be pretty smart.  It’s a small world.  We live in a truly global community.  We need to keep our eye on the ball:

Apart from the US$ 1.4 billion funding gap for research, there is a further US$ 3 billion per year funding shortfall between 2013 and 2015 which could have severe consequences for TB control, the report warns.

Read CNN article here:

Read WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2012 here or a summary from WHO here: