The global toll of tuberculosis (TB) is larger than previously thought, with an estimated 9 million new cases and 1.5 million TB-related deaths in 2013, according to a survey released today by the World Health Organization (WHO). The number of new cases – 400,000 more than were estimated a year ago – is a sobering reminder of the challenges posed by the second biggest killer among infectious diseases after HIV.
But the findings are also a sign of advances in fighting the disease, according to the WHO’s latest annual Global Tuberculosis Report. The higher numbers reflect better data gathering around the world, rather than an actual surge in the disease, the report notes. Countries are boosting measures to diagnose and track TB, “providing us with much more and better data, bringing us closer and closer to understanding the true burden,” said Dr. Mario Raviglione, WHO’s Director of the Global TB Programme, in a statement.Continue Reading »