Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its Global Tuberculosis Report 2015. The report finds there were 9.6 million new TB cases in 2014. While this is a slight increase in total new cases, WHO reports that this reflects improved surveillance and reporting methods rather than an actual increase in TB disease globally.
The report is the 20th in a series of annual evaluations which provides surveillance data and assessments on the status of global efforts in implementing and financing TB prevention, care and control from more than 205 countries.
Today’s report highlights that progress has been made in expanding access to effective diagnosis and treatment of TB, leading to a 47 percent reduction in the TB mortality rate since 1990 and resulting in an estimated 43 million lives saved since 2000.
Despite this progress, the report confirms that TB remains one of the world’s greatest health threats. In 2014, there were 1.5 million TB-related deaths -- 890,000 men, 480,000 women and 140,000 children. Better modeling and research on pediatric TB has led to a doubling of estimates from previous years on the number of new TB cases among children, and underscores that more remains to be done to reach vulnerable populations.
The 2015 report also highlights that an estimated 3.3 percent of new TB cases and 20 percent of previously treated cases have MDR TB, a level that has remained relatively stable in recent years. However, 105 countries have reported cases of extensively drug-resistant TB, an increase from 2013, indicating that drug-resistant strains of TB continue to spread.
Additionally, according to the report, in 2014:
- More than a third (37.5 percent) of new TB cases went undiagnosed or unreported to national authorities
- An estimated 480,000 patients developed multidrug-resistant (MDR TB), while only 1 in 4 were diagnosed and notified
- An estimated 1.2 million (12 percent) of the 9.6 million people who developed TB worldwide were HIV-positive.
- TB and HIV are now the leading cause of deaths from an infectious disease worldwide.