Tuberculosis or TB (short for tubercles bacillus) is a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by various strains of myco-bacteria. TB usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air, when people who have the disease cough, sneeze, or spit. Most infections in humans result in an asymptomatic, latent infection and about one in ten latent infection events usually progresses to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of its victims.
Tuberculosis is a disease we see little of in Europe and the United States but it is unfortunately re-emerging as a global danger in the form of the Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB).
Each year worldwide close to two million people die from TB. The increasing level of MDR TB in particular increases this figure because treatment is a long and protracted exercise and unfortunately the chances of recovery are still relatively low.
MDR TB accounts for approximately 4% of the total diagnosed global cases of TB.
Overall, approximately 9.4 million new cases are reported each year worldwide, of which China and India are prominently affected with 3.5 million new cases appearing between them each year, with 50% of all MDR TB cases being reported in these two countries.
South-east Asia including Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia also have serious TB problems, which are often linked with AIDS patients.
Currently the cost of standard TB treatment is US$2,000 per patient, whilst MDR TB costs US$5,000 per patient.
Related terms: What is Treatment for Tuberculosis, The Cause of Tuberculosis, How is Tuberculosis Transmitted, Facts About Tuberculosis, Tuberculosis Facts and Information, Tuberculosis Outbreak 2014, What are the Symptoms of Tuberculosis