An estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with tuberculosis (TB) in 2021, an increase of 4.5% from 2020, and 1.6 million people died from TB (including 187 000 among HIV positive people), according to the World Health Organization’s 2022 Global TB report.
The burden of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) also increased by 3% between 2020 and 2021, with 450 000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) in 2021.
This is the first time in many years an increase has been reported in the number of people falling ill with TB and drug resistant TB.
TB services are among many others disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, but its impact on the TB response has been particularly severe.
Ongoing conflicts across Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East have further exacerbated the situation for vulnerable populations.
“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that with solidarity, determination, innovation and the equitable use of tools, we can overcome severe health threats. Let’s apply those lessons to tuberculosis. It is time to put a stop to this long-time killer. Working together, we can end TB,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
Continued challenges with providing and accessing essential TB services have meant that many people with TB were not diagnosed and treated.
The reported number of people newly diagnosed with TB fell from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020. There was a partial recovery to 6.4 million in 2021, but this was still well below pre-pandemic levels.
SOURCE: Pan American Health Organization