WHO Urges Australia, New Zealand, USA to Eliminate Tuberculosis

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By Smitha Nambiar | July 4, 2014 5:03 PM EST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.S. to help eliminate the deadly tuberculosis completely by the year 2050. The WHO has signaled out 33 countries that have low rates of tuberculosis and can easily wipe out the disease from the nation.

Tuberculosis (TB), which took the lives of 1.3 million people across the globe in 2013, is becoming one of the most dreadful disease after AIDS. The WHO said that 33 countries with nearly 100 per million inhabitants face the challenge of eliminating tuberculosis completely by 2050.

Speaking to reporters about the general public's ignorance in understanding tuberculosis, Marco Raviglione, the head of the WHO's anti-tuberculosis programme, said the world is at the juncture where tuberculosis can be controlled easily. He said, "We are at an historical point now in control of tuberculosis worldwide and there are number of countries, we count 33, that are really at the low level of incidence that allows them to truly target elimination." Raviglione further added that the general public of these countries with low rates of tuberculosis believe that it is a disease of the past.

Though severe complications leading to death are rare, tuberculosis can have serious implications on the individual. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, almost 155,000 people suffer from tuberculosis even today with nearly 10,000 deaths. In New Zealand alone, there are approximately 300 cases of tuberculosis diagnosed each year, according to the Ministry of Health.

The WHO will be putting forward a series of anti-tuberculosis measures at an international conference to be held in Rome.

Tuberculosis (TB), a highly infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, mainly affects the lungs. It is also known to affect organs in the central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system, among others. Tuberculosis treatment involves taking several antibiotic drugs for at least six months and sometimes for as long as 12 months.

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