GENEVA: Tuberculosis (TB) claimed 1.3 million lives last year with drug-resistant forms of the infectious disease—the deadliest after acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)—a huge global concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday.
Worldwide efforts to rein in the killer airborne disease helped drive the toll down 100,000 from the previous year, the WHO said in its annual report on the fight against TB.
But the toll remains the world’s second-highest for an infectious disease, after HIV/AIDS.
An estimated 8.6 million people caught tuberculosis in 2012, with India alone accounting for 26 percent of cases, and China, 12 percent.
According to the WHO, close to one-third of TB cases were in Southeast Asia, just over a quarter in Africa and around one-fifth on the Western Pacific region.
Looking at the longer-term picture, the number of infections fell by nearly half from 1990 to 2012.
But experts reckon only two-thirds of last year’s 8.6 million new cases were actually diagnosed, leaving an estimated three million people unaware they had the disease.