Berlin - Even if it is not in the headlines: tuberculosis (TB) remains highly significant. Epidemiologists are remembering this on today's World Tuberculosis Day. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (), around nine million people worldwide were diagnosed with TB in 2013. According to the Robert Koch Institute (), 1.5 million patients died in that year, around 480,000 had multi-resistant and thus difficult to treat form.
Defeating TB worldwide requires more than good medical care and access necessary medication - although this is also necessary. Various authors are recalling this today in "viewpoint" in the specialist journal Lancet. The authors initially welcome the so-called end TB strategy of the WHO. She decided that in May 2013 in Geneva. Their ambitious goal is to significantly reduce TB by the year 2035.
"The formulated goal for low-incidence countries is to achieve pre-elimination by 2035 and elimination of tuberculosis by 2050", the RKI explains the version of the in the epidemiological bulletin Strategy. In this context, “pre-elemination” means less than ten diseases per million inhabitants and “elimination” means less than one disease per million inhabitants. “This would require an annual decrease in the TB incidence of more than ten percent in Germany. In fact, however, the number of illnesses is stagnating, similar to other industrialized nations, ”reports the RKI.
There are several people against tuberculosis Vaccines in clinical trials. Still, there are many unanswered questions about the basic mechanisms of the disease. When the first tuberculosis vaccine was developed almost 100 years ago, medicine was still in phase in which "trial and error" in the development of new substances was the order of the day.
Nevertheless, the rich industrialized countries have made great strides in the fight against TB in the past. "They achieved this not only by providing good care for TB patients, but also by making their health systems easily accessible to the general public, improving the social and economic security of patients and improving nutritional conditions," the Lancet authors say. This must also be the approach for those countries in which many people develop TB, they warn.