National Public Radio ran a great story on TB and the rush to create a new TB vaccine. Thanks to drug resistant strains of TB, the older vaccine, BCG, has become less effective, yet the disease shows no signs of slowing, especially in developing countries with high prevalence of HIV. HALI is working on TB surveillance in the Ruaha ecosystem, Tanzania, where the risk of TB infection passing between wildlife, livestock, and human populations practicing pastoral and traditional animal husbandry is especially high.
Numbers At A Glance
(from: Scientists Race To Create Better TB Vaccine, by Brenda Wilson)
Tuberculosis and HIV are a deadly combination. At least 1.7 million people died in 2007 from tuberculosis. A quarter of the people who died were also infected with HIV, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.
WHO also reports a slight increase in the global epidemic with 9.27 million new cases of TB worldwide in 2007. More than half of those occurred in Asia — mainly in India and China. A little under one-third of the new cases are in Africa, primarily in Nigeria and South Africa. Africa had the most cases of TB driven by the HIV epidemic.
“The likelihood of death for someone with HIV who becomes infected with TB that is not treated within six months is 100 percent,” according to Dr. Richard Chaisson, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Tuberculosis Research. He noted that cases of TB have tripled in Africa since the growth of the HIV epidemic about 15 years ago.
In countries like Africa, India and the Russian Federation, tuberculosis is now often linked to HIV. Poorly treated tuberculosis is also giving rise to a drug-resistant and sometimes deadly form of the disease.