Global tuberculosis report infographic
Graphic shows global impact of tuberculosis.


Tuberculosis fight recovering from Covid but still off target

November 7, 2023 - The global fight against tuberculosis (TB), badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, is beginning to recover but remains a long way off target, according to a WHO report.

During the first two years of the pandemic, there were around 4 million “missing” TB patients per year, meaning people who developed TB but who were not diagnosed or treated. That gap narrowed to around 3.1 million in 2022, the UN agency’s annual report estimated, back to the pre-pandemic level of 2019.

However, a lack of funding and focus continues to stymie efforts to end what has been described as the “pandemic of the poor”. TB, an infectious disease which usually attacks the lungs, is both preventable and curable.

In total, an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with TB in 2022, up from 10.3 million in 2021. But 7.5 million were diagnosed – meaning they could access suitable treatment – the highest figure since monitoring began in 1995, the WHO said.

TB-related deaths also fell slightly, from 1.4 million in 2021 to 1.3 million in 2022. The disease remains just behind Covid-19 as the world’s deadliest infectious illness, with India, Indonesia and the Philippines particularly badly affected by TB, Reuters said.

PUBLISHED: 07/11/2023; STORY: Graphic News