India accounted for 27% of the 10 million tuberculosis infections across the world in 2017, according to the World Health Organization’s 2018 Global TB report.
“TB is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide, and since 2011 it has been the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS,” the report said. More than 4,000 people die of the disease every day.
There was a marginal decrease in the number of cases in India, the report said. Of the 10 million new infections in 2017, 2.74 million were from India, slightly lower than the 2.79 million reported in 2016. As many as 5.8 million men were infected, while 3.2 million infections were reported in women and 1 million in children.
Though the disease was reported across the world, two-thirds of the cases were from eight countries, led by India. “Two-thirds were in eight countries: India, China (9%), Indonesia (8%), the Philippines (6%), Pakistan (5%), Nigeria (4%), Bangladesh (4%) and South Africa (3%),” the report said. India took major steps in 2017-’18 to improve treatment outcome, it added.
“These and 22 other countries in WHO’s list of 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 87% of the world’s cases,” the report said. Europe and the Americas reported only 3% cases each, it added.
India also reported a high number of drug-resistant tuberculosis diseases. Worldwide, about 5,58,000 people developed tuberculosis that was resistant to first-line drug rifampicin. As many as 82% of these people had multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Three countries, India (24%), China (13%) and Russia (10%) accounted for nearly half of such cases.
“Our TB notifications have gone up, especially since our recent orders that included jail term for doctors, chemists or laboratory owners who fail to notify cases,” Additional Secretary (Health) Sanjeeva Kumar told the Hindustan Times. “We are hoping it would go up further in the coming months and these patients will be put on treatment.”