a quarter of the world’s population suffers from the disease, says study

About a quarter of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis. People are getting a chance to fight to avoid long-term disability caused by the disease, thanks to world-first research carried out at The Australian National University (ANU) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Despite being curable and preventable, every day, around 28,000 people will be diagnosed with tuberculosis and 4,000 people will lose their lives from the disease. It is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, and for those who don’t lose their lives, TB can cause significant long-term disability.

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Until now, not much is known about the prevalence of TB-related disabilities, and researchers are the first to examine TB-caused disabilities on a global scale. “This is the first systematic review that has attempted to synthesize the global literature on all tuberculosis-related disabilities,” commented Dr. Samantha Colquhoun of the ANU National Center for Population Health and Epidemiology.

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The team reviewed more than 130 publications, totaling 175 data sets, which were generated using information from more than 200,000 tuberculosis patients. The team found that, among a variety of disabilities associated with tuberculosis, mental health disorders, respiratory and musculoskeletal problems were the most common.

The research has worldwide significance for the treatment of the disease. Researchers have mapped the spectrum and prevalence of TB-related disabilities and believe this information is critical to ensuring that health services and policies in countries can provide adequate patient care.

According to Dr. Kinley Wangdi of the ANU Department of Global Health, the goal is for research to improve approaches to treating tuberculosis-related disabilities, making treatment proactive and preventive.

“Looking at the implications of our research for patients, we now have a much better understanding of the types of disabilities that people are likely to develop as a result of their TB diagnosis, the risk factors associated with these different disabilities,” he concluded.

Source: Medical Xpress

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