New data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe ahead of World TB Day show that new tuberculosis (TB) cases and deaths in the 53 countries of the WHO European Region declined each year by 4.3% and 8.5% respectively between 2011 and 2015.
However, vulnerable groups for TB infection, such as people living with HIV, prisoners and migrants, do not benefit from this overall trend. In particular, new TB/HIV co-infections increased by 40% over the same time period. Providing testing to all TB patients for HIV and vice versa, together with counselling and rapid treatment, could reverse the negative trend.
“The flare-up of TB/HIV co-infections from 2011 to 2015, together with persistently high rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis, seriously threaten progress made towards ending TB, the goal that European and world leaders have committed to achieve by 2030,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “One in three people co-infected with TB/HIV do not know about their status, which drastically lowers their chances of being cured. In turn, this favours the spread of the diseases, putting health systems and governments under pressure.”
- Guidance on Treating Tuberculosis & HIV Co-Infection
- Visceral Fat Differentiates Crohn’s From Intestinal Tuberculosis
- Tuberculosis associated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, assured that: “The European Commission is committed to mobilising all available tools to help EU countries meet the global commitments made in international fora within the given deadlines. TB affects the most vulnerable members of our societies and often co-exists with other conditions such as HIV or viral hepatitis.”
Similar to the trend in the whole WHO European Region, the number of new TB cases in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) has been constantly going down since 2002. However, with an annual decrease of 5%, the EU/EEA will not reach the set target to end TB which would require an annual decrease of at least 10%.