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Today is world tuberculosis day, but there is “no better news” writes Global Post as complacency and lack of funding deter research into the disease.

Today is world tuberculosis day, but there is “no better news” writes Global Post as complacency and lack of funding deter research into the disease. Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne writes: “A year and a half ago, I attended the seventh birthday party of a young boy named Fanyana, who was quarantined at the Sizwe Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa due to his extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. Fanyana’s tuberculosis is virtually untreatable, and when I returned to Johannesburg this past fall, he remained in quarantine. He was as charismatic as ever, but slower and more tired than when I had first met him, evidence of a gradual decline that will end with his death. One hundred and twenty-eight years after Robert Koch discovered the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, the disease continues to thrive throughout the world. It kills nearly 2 million people a year and infects almost 9 million annually. One third of the world’s population is estimated to be infected with the latent form of the disease. After a flood of antibiotics came on the market in the middle of the 20th century, research in the field of TB has been marked by a lack of funding and complacency, as the disease faded from high-income countries. The last new tuberculosis drug was introduced 40 years ago, and the disease has found a foothold in lower and middle-income countries, with China, India, and South Africa leading the world in new infections.”


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