Intended for healthcare professionals


Some progress and some missed targets in the TB epidemic

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 16 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2626
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne, medical journalist
  1. 1New York
  1. janice{at}

There is promise of new treatments for tuberculosis (TB), although some goals set by the World Health Organization for 2015 are likely to be missed, said Jennifer Philips of New York University Langone Medical Center in remarks made at a TB day symposium on 24 March at the New York Academy of Sciences.

Philips said WHO reported that about 8.6 million people developed TB and 1.3 million people died from TB in 2012. The disease was the leading killer of people with HIV infection, accounting for about one fifth of HIV deaths. Multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) was present in virtually every country surveyed.1

Philips said that the TB incidence rate has been falling in recent years and TB mortality has been reduced by almost 50% since 1990—but not in parts of Africa and eastern Europe. Some WHO goals have not been met: about 3 million incident cases of TB are not diagnosed or reported. Eleven countries with high rates of TB are not on track to meet incidence, prevalence, and mortality goals. Goals for access to diagnosis and treatment of MDR-TB are far off track. Targets for treating patients with HIV/TB coinfection have not been met.

WHO is in …

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