HomeWashington Letter2016 ▶ TB Cases and Deaths Continue to Rise Globally
TB Cases and Deaths Continue to Rise Globally

October 2016

This week, the World Health Organization released its annual Global TB Surveillance Report in Washington, DC, which shows that the tuberculosis pandemic is larger than previously counted, with TB deaths outpacing HIV/AIDS deaths globally for the second year in a row. According to the report, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases, up from 9.6 million in 2014. TB killed 1.8 million people in 2015, up from 1.5 million reported in 2014. HIV/AIDS deaths for 2015 were at 1.1 million. The multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB crisis persists, with about 480,000 cases. However, the 2015 WHO report includes new data on an additional 100,000 cases of single-drug resistant cases globally, which are treated with a similarly longer, more expensive and more toxic drug regimen. Less than a quarter of people with drug resistant TB globally are being identified and treated.

WHO TB Programme Director Mario Raviglione, MD, called for increased political commitment from governments to address the widening financial gap in TB control funding, including the need for development of new diagnostic, treatment and prevention tools.

In Dec. 2015, President Obama released an ambitious National Action Plan to Combat Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis globally and in the U.S., yet no funding has been proposed to implement the plan. ATS Past President Philip Hopewell, MD, said, "We urge the Administration and Congress to fully implement and fund this important global health initiative through USAID, CDC and TB research through the National Institutes of Health. We can no longer afford to neglect TB, now the leading global infectious disease killer."

Last Reviewed: October 2017