Today is the World Tuberculosis Day and a new research has made some glaring exposure. According to the study, improved medication, government’s initiatives and aid agencies’ efforts have failed to check the increase of this disease as the number of children suffering from tuberculosis (TB) annually has doubled since 2011.
An estimated one million children suffer from TB annually, say the researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston. The researchers also estimated that around 32,000 children suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) annually.
These figures are twice the number previously thought to have tuberculosis and three times the number that are diagnosed every year, the researchers claimed.
Ted Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at BWH, says, “Despite children comprising approximately one quarter of the world’s population, there have been no previous estimates of how many suffer from MDR-TB disease. According to our estimate of the total number of new cases of childhood, TB is twice than estimated by the WHO in 2011 and three times the number of child TB cases notified globally each year.”
Cohen is also an associate professor at Harvard School of Public Health.
“TB in a child is recognised as a sentinel event. It tells us about ongoing transmission and missed opportunities for prevention,” Mercedes Becerra, an associate professor at HMS, said.
The researchers used several sources of publicly available data in order to obtain these estimates. They have also devised a new method to correct for the chronic under-diagnosis that occurs in children, using conventional TB tests which were designed for and work best on adults.
Their findings indicate that around 1,000,000 children developed TB disease in 2010 and of those, 32,000 had MDR-TB.
The findings of the study are published in the prestigious journal The Lancet.