Information brève en Français
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is one of the leading causes of all adult deaths worldwide, as well as the leading cause of death in HIV-positive people.
An estimated 1.5 million people die of TB each year.
Not all infected persons develop active disease, but the risk of
becoming sick is increased when the immune system is weakened, for
example by HIV infection.
Effective and affordable medicines to treat TB disease
have been available for decades but these must be taken for six to
eight months and, if treatment is not completed, the emergence of
drug-resistant strains of the bacillus may be encouraged.
According to WHO, only 15 per cent of people with TB
disease worldwide are currently receiving the recommended form of
treatment known as DOTS (directly-observed treatment, short-course).
Multidrug-resistant strains of TB are of increasing
public health concern worldwide. The existing vaccine against
tuberculosis, BCG or Bacille Calmette-Guérin, is almost 80 years old.
It is effective in infants for preventing some highly dangerous forms
of the disease (miliary TB and meningitis) and is widely given to
babies through the WHO’s Expanded Programme on Immunization. However,
additional vaccines are needed to combat this major killer.
For further information see
Download Adobe Acrobat
(Required to read PDF documents)