Tuberculosis Cases in Africa Could Double Over Next Decade
The number of tuberculosis cases is growing at a rate of 10% per year in Africa and will likely double over the next 10 years due to "the rapid spread of AIDS" on the continent, according to a joint statement by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS. Reuters/Contra Costa Times reports that the number of new TB cases is expected to reach 3.3 million per year by 2005, compared with fewer than two million new cases in 1999. HIV and TB are "heavily interdependent," since TB is a "leading killer" of people with AIDS, and people co-infected with TB and HIV are 30 times more likely to develop active TB than people infected with TB alone (Reuters/Contra Costa Times, 4/23). UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot said, "There is an urgent need to address TB and HIV together. Reducing transmission of HIV will reduce the epidemic of TB. Joint TB/HIV activities are needed to decrease the burden of HIV-related TB." WHO and UNAIDS recommend "rapid expansion" of WHO's Directly Observed Treatment, Shortcourse, services; increased access to TB and HIV drugs; and a strengthening of national and local infrastructures to tackle both TB and HIV. Scientists will address the spread of TB and HIV this week during the Organization of African Unity Summit on HIV/AIDS, TB and Other Infectious Diseases being held in Abuja, Nigeria (WHO release, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.