World Tuberculosis Day highlights disease that kills 1.5 million per year
Among the 9 million people who were infected with tuberculosis in 2013, a quarter of those were from India.
World Tuberculosis Day is held on March 24 to spread awareness about a disease that, according to the World Health Organization, kills 1.5 million people globally every year and infected 9 million people in 2013.
India is currently experiencing a tuberculosis epidemic. The country accounts for about a quarter of new tuberculosis cases each year, and around 300,000 people die from the disease in India every year. Zarir F. Udwadia, a doctor at the P.D. Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, one of the best private hospitals in Mumbai, told AFP that India spends only 5 billion rupees, or about $80 million, each year on anti-tuberculosis programmes, the least among the BRICS group of developing countries.
“Patients with TB in India typically flit between an unsympathetic public sector and an exploitative private sector until they are too sick or impoverished to do so, all the while continuing to transmit and spread tuberculosis in crowded home and work environments,” Udwadia told AFP.
Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacteria that most commonly affects the lungs. The disease is transmitted after people inhale tuberculosis germs when those with the disease cough or sneeze. A person with tuberculosis can infect up to 15 people through close contact over the course of a year, according to the World Health Organization.
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