The World Health Organization (WHO) says that tuberculosis now ranks jointly alongside HIV as the world’s most lethal infectious disease.
Each of the diseases was responsible for between 1.1 million and 1.2 million deaths in 2014.
According to WHO, such figures for tuberculosis were unacceptable since the disease can be cured.
Medecin Sans Frontieres stated that the statistics were “disheartening” and advised that the world was “losing ground” in the attack of resistant types of TB.
Shown by WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2015, huge achievements have been made in tackling tuberculosis, with the mortality rate being almost halved since 1990. In addition, the number of infections has been reducing 1.5% per annum since 2000.
Improved access to anti-retroviral drugs has meant that deaths from HIV/Aids have been dropping rapidly.
The WHO’s tuberculosis director, Dr Mario Raviglione, stated that HIV and tuberculosis were now battling to be the top cause of death from infectious disease in the world.
Most new cases of tuberculosis are in India, China, Nigeria, Indonesia or Pakistan.
Continuously falling since the mid-2000s, deaths from HIV/Aids now stand at 1.2 million per year.
In total, there were 1.5 million deaths caused by tuberculosis in 2014. However, four hundred thousand of them are officially counted as Aids deaths because they were in HIV positive patients.
TB and HIV are now joint top killers, according to the World Health Organization.
Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, said that there has been amazing impact since 1990, but also said that in order to end this epidemic, services need to be improved and, most importantly, investment in research. Dr Raviglione agreed.
Also highlighted in the report are the dangers of TB becoming resistant to antibiotics. Approximately 3 out of every 100 new cases of tuberculosis could not be treated with first-choice antibiotics.
Next year, the WHO will move to its End TB Strategy, which has a goal to cut deaths by 90% by 2030.