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March 27, 2019

Tuberculosis rates in Europe are not declining fast enough says WHO

Although only a small proportion of people who are exposed will develop TB in their lifetime, the risk of contracting TB is higher among immunocompromised individuals.

By GlobalData Healthcare

The World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have released their latest tuberculosis (TB) report, which provides an overview of the epidemiology of TB for Europe.

Tuberculosis in Europe

TB is an infectious disease that can be transmitted from person to person. It affects the lungs but can cause disease in any organ. Although only a small proportion of people who are exposed will develop TB in their lifetime, the risk of contracting TB is higher among immunocompromised individuals.

The WHO/ECDC report highlights that the EU region had one of the fastest declines in both TB mortality rates and new cases of TB compared to other regions. However, despite these improvements, the decline is not fast enough to reach its ‘end TB strategy’ goals. This WHO strategy aims to end the global TB epidemic measured against specific indicators and targets.

In 2017, the WHO reported that there were 275,000 new incident cases of TB in Europe with an incident rate of 30 cases per 100,000 population. Of the new cases, an estimated 77,000 people are dealing with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). The number of cases in Europe accounted for 2.8% of the total global burden of the disease. The EU and European Economic Area countries have reported fewer cases of MDR-TB, although all countries in the region still face a public health issue when it comes to TB.

Epidemiologists have forecast a decline

GlobalData epidemiologists have forecast a decline in the number of cases of TB from 2017 to 2027 for a majority of the five European markets (5EU).

A few of the issues that the region faces include the drug-resistant forms of the disease (such as MDR-TB), decreasing the diagnosis time of the disease to prevent further disease transmission and increasing treatment success rates. Recommended efforts include catering public health efforts to individual countries and strengthening coordination efforts.

The WHO/ECDC report recognises that TB remains a public health issue with a number of challenges and notes that more public health measures need to be taken.

5EU, incident cases of tuberculosis (N), both sexes, all ages, 2017–2027

Source: GlobalData

5EU = France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

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