Tuberculosis has struck again and this time it is medically resistant.
In a recent report published by WHO, Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis has been diagnosed as a disease which can take the form of a pandemic in the Western Europe if not dealt with properly.
On Tuesday, the organization released a combating plan which will diagnose 85 percent of the tuberculosis patients across Europe in the coming days and will treat at least 75 percent of them by the end of 2015. The action plan further proposes to prevent 263,000 cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and the more lethal extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) between 2011 and 2015.
A WHO report suggested only 32 percent of the European tuberculosis patients are treated properly and rest of the patients discontinue medication which allows the infection to become medically resistant.
Nobody in Europe is 100 percent protected from drug-resistant tuberculosis, said Ogtay Gozalov, a medical officer at WHO. He also warned Europeans about the disease's spread saying the rate is alarming and that previous medicines would be inadequate to fight the epidemic.
TB is an old disease that never went away, now it is evolving with a vengeance and we have to find new weapons to fight it, said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe.
In a news conference in London, Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary of the Stop TB Partnership said, The numbers are scary; this is a very dramatic situation.
Every year more than 80,000 new cases of tuberculosis get filed from the Western Europe. However, the number is much higher worldwide. The disease is still an epidemic that kills 1.7 million people annually across the globe.
Experts fear cases of MDR-TB and XDR-TB might take a more serious form as existing medicines will fail to restrict the disease. The growing number with about 440,000 new patients every year around the world requires an immediate halt from spreading the disease further.
WHO and Stop TB Partnership identified 27 countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB,15 of them are in the WHO's European region.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If not treated properly, the infection can destroy the patient's lung tissue, causing them to cough up the bacteria, and then spreading the bacteria through air infecting others.
Alcoholism, low socioeconomic status, low awareness of the health workers dealing with tuberculosis patients and fear of social isolation if diagnosed worsens the situation, said the experts.
The WHO proposed action plan will cost $5 billion and is overambitious, said critics.