Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious, airborne
Infected people incur a 10% risk of developing
active TB. If untreated, 50% of patients with active TB will die
in a 5- year period. Weakening of the immune system, e.g. via
HIV infection, increases the risk of developing active disease.
One third of the world's population is
currently infected with TB bacilli. If control is not further
strengthened it is estimated that, between 2002 and 2020, 1000
million people will be newly infected, over 150 million will get
sick and 36 million will die of the disease
The global incidence rate of TB is growing
annually at approximately 0.4%, but much faster in sub-Saharan
Africa and the countries of the former Soviet Union.
HIV fuels the TB epidemic. Globally, 9% of all
new TB cases in adults are attributable to HIV- infection, but
in Africa the figure reaches 31%.
Early detection and treatment of infectious cases
is the primary control measure.
World Health Organisation page on
Contact points at the European
Commission for EC research on tuberculosis