In 2021, tuberculosis affected 10.6 million people worldwide, killing 1.6 million.
But efforts to end the disease are also continuing, efforts that have led to as many as 74 million lives saved since 2000. This was indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO) on World TB Day on 24 March.
The date chosen to raise awareness of this disease recalls the day in 1882 when the bacterium that causes the infectious and contagious disease, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, was discovered.
The spotlight of World TB Day, whose slogan is 'Yes! We can end TB!', is on urging countries to encourage more investment, faster adoption of innovations such as new oral medicines for resistant TB to drugs.
Tuberculosis is concentrated in poverty-stricken settings and in the most vulnerable populations.
The Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts and socio-economic crises, notes the WHO, "have jeopardized progress towards the elimination of the disease and to ensure equitable access to prevention and treatment".
Greater investments to introduce preventive treatment options, shorter-term therapies, to promote rapid molecular diagnostics and other innovations, WHO says, "can save millions of lives".
The symptoms of this disease that affects the lungs are cough for more than 3 weeks, chest pain, fever, night sweats, blood in the sputum.
Diagnosis has made a lot of progress in recent years, with molecular tests able to identify the presence of the mycobacterium in a few hours instead of 3-4 weeks as in the past.
This allows you to start antibiotic therapy earlier and reduce transmission from the sick to healthy people.