World Health Organization Releases Two Surprising Reports
Tuberculosis continues to spread in five countries, and more than 3.7 billion people have the herpes virus
Talk about a double whammy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has released two health reports with frightening statistics about tuberculosis and herpes.
Tuberculosis deaths now outnumber those from HIV/AIDS
For the first time last year, tuberculosis was the cause of death for more people worldwide than HIV/AIDS, according to a new WHO report. Nearly 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis in 2014 compared to 1.2 million from HIV and AIDS.
While the total number of TB cases last year was 9.6 million (higher than previous years), WHO attributes the increase to improved data findings. More than half of the world’s new cases occurred in China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Nigeria.
But it's not all bad news. Despite an increase in tuberculosis cases, the number of people who died from the disease has nearly halved in the last 25 years, according to the agency. "TB intervention has saved some 43 million lives since 2000," but given that most TB cases can be successfully treated, the death rate is still "unacceptably high," Mario Raviglione, MD, director of the WHO TB program, told Reuters.
WHO researchers say work is needed to close the gaps between detection and treatment, fill the funding shortfalls and develop new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. According to the WHO, TB still kills 4,400 people a day, while 3.3% of new cases have multi-drug resistant TB.
Future goals will aim to eradicate tuberculosis around the world, according to the agency.
Herpes virus infects over 3.7 billion worldwide
Two-thirds people under age 50 have herpes, according to a new WHO report.
Often transmitted due to lack of symptoms, herpes simplex virus HSV-1 causes cold sores and blisters around the mouth, as opposed to HSV-2, which causes genital herpes and is mainly sexually transmitted.
"The global burden of HSV-1 infection is huge," WHO researchers said. About 87 percent of Africans and almost 60 percent of Asians under 50 have the virus, which is transmitted by mouth-to-mouth contact or through saliva. In contrast, in the Americas, 39 percent of men and 49 percent of women have the HSV-1 virus, the lowest regional rate in the world, according to WHO researchers.
With no cure available for either herpes virus, WHO researchers insisted on the importance of developing vaccines to treat them.