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October 31, 2022
WHO: Tuberculosis cases rise for the first time in years
TB primarily affects adults, especially those who are malnourished or have other diseases such as HIV; more than 95 percent of cases occur in developing countries.
Only one-third of people with drug-resistant TB are receiving treatment, according to the WHO.
Dr. Hannah Spencer of Médecins Sans Frontières South Africa said, "Drug-resistant TB is curable, but it is worrying that cases are rising for the first time in several years." "There is an urgent need to promote shorter, safer and more effective treatments."
Spencer called for lowering the price of TB treatment so that a full course of treatment costs no more than $500.
WHO also said that ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East have worsened the options for TB patients seeking diagnosis and treatment.
Ukraine was one of the world's worst TB epidemics even before Russia invaded the country in February. Health experts fear that the lack of access to treatment for patients could trigger more drug-resistant TB in the region.
While TB patients displaced by the war can seek treatment in Ukraine, the country has a shortage of key drugs and authorities face challenges in tracking patients.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science Education. The Associated Press is responsible for all content.