7,000 Excess TB Deaths in Europe Linked to Covid-19 Pandemic: WHO Report

Spread the love

7,000 Excess TB Deaths in Europe Linked to Covid-19 Pandemic: WHO Report

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) – Europe experienced approximately 7,000 additional deaths from tuberculosis (TB) during the three years of the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020-2022, compared to pre-2020 estimates, as per a new report released on Thursday by the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of World TB Day on March 24.

7,000 Excess TB Deaths in Europe Linked to Covid-19 Pandemic WHO Report


The rise in mortality was attributed to the disruptions caused in diagnosis and treatment efforts during the pandemic, according to the latest TB surveillance and monitoring report from the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, Regional Director at WHO/Europe, expressed dismay at the preventable loss of lives, stating, “Our latest report reveals a heart-breaking, entirely preventable situation — people affected by TB were not protected during the pandemic and 7,000 needlessly lost their lives because of disruptions to TB services.”

The report highlighted successful cure rates of only six out of 10 TB treatments using first-line medicines, the lowest rates in a decade, compared to nine out of 10 patients infected with strains responsive to antibiotics like rifampicin and isoniazid.

Dr. Kluge further emphasized the alarming rise in drug-resistant TB, urging national authorities to strengthen TB testing programs and promptly diagnose cases.

Additionally, concerns were raised about the suboptimal management of TB and HIV co-infection, prompting recommendations to scale up efforts to actively find and treat missing TB cases.

This includes enhancing TB testing, improving access to preventive treatment, and implementing short and full oral treatment regimens, the report stated.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 7,000 Excess TB Deaths in Europe Linked to Covid-19 Pandemic: WHO Report

Q: What is tuberculosis (TB)? A: Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that mainly affects the lungs. It can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, kidneys, or spine.

Q: How is TB transmitted? A: TB is typically spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing tiny droplets containing the bacteria.

Q: What are the symptoms of TB? A: Symptoms of TB include a persistent cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, fatigue, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

Q: How is TB diagnosed? A: TB can be diagnosed through various tests, including chest X-rays, sputum tests, and TB skin tests.

Q: What is drug-resistant TB? A: Drug-resistant TB occurs when the bacteria that cause TB become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infection. This makes TB harder to treat and can lead to more severe illness and death if not properly managed.

Q: How can TB be prevented? A: TB can be prevented by ensuring proper ventilation in living and working spaces, practicing good respiratory hygiene, identifying and treating TB cases promptly, and providing preventive treatment to individuals at high risk of developing TB.

Q: What are the challenges in TB management during the Covid-19 pandemic? A: The Covid-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to TB management, including disruptions to diagnosis and treatment services, reduced access to healthcare facilities, and diversion of resources away from TB control programs.

Q: What can be done to address the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to TB management? A: To address these challenges, efforts must be made to strengthen TB testing and treatment programs, ensure continuity of care for TB patients, and integrate TB services with Covid-19 response efforts. Additionally, it is essential to raise awareness about TB and encourage adherence to preventive measures.

Table: Excess TB Deaths in Europe During Covid-19 Pandemic

Year Estimated Excess TB Deaths
2020 2,000
2021 2,500
2022 2,500
Total 7,000

(Data based on WHO Regional Office for Europe and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control report)

Spread the love

Leave a Comment