Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease of antiquity. Hippocrates mentioned it
in 460 BC as an "almost always fatal disease of the lungs." More than 2000
years later, it remains a global public health emergency. In 1997, an estimated
1.9 billion people worldwide had active TB, with 8 million new cases worldwide,
and 1.9 million died of the disease (JAMA. 1999;282:677-686). The World
Health Organization (WHO) estimates that unless global control efforts are
strengthened, between now and 2020, nearly 1 billion more people will be newly
infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, 200 million
will develop active disease, and 70 million will die from it. Currently, 80%
of active TB cases are in 22 countries, primarily in Asia and Africa. Clearly,
TB affects development in these regions, since disease rates are highest in
adults of working age.
Satcher D. Tuberculosis—Battling an Ancient Scourge. JAMA. 1999;282(21):1996. doi:10.1001/jama.282.21.1996
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