The World #Health Organization (WHO) released a fact sheet on Wednesday that revealed startling new information: the infectious disease tuberculosis (TB) is the number one most fatal infectious disease in the world. More deaths are attributed to tuberculosis than AIDS/HIV, with TB to blame for 1.5 million deaths in 2014 to AIDS/HIV's 1.2 million.

Tuberculosis Facts and Figures

  • In 2014, nearly 10 million people became ill with TB; of those people, 1.5 million succumbed to the illness.

  • Approximately one million children became ill with tuberculosis in 2014, with 140,000 of those children dying as a result of their illness.

  • More than 95 percent of deaths due to tuberculosis occur in low and middle-income nations.

  • TB is one of the top five causes of death in women 15 to 44 years-of-age.

  • Even with the high number of deaths attributed annually to TB, the death rate has from this infectious disease has dropped 47 percent between 1990 and 2015.

  • Tuberculosis is a leading cause of death in those with HIV infections.

What Is Tuberculosis?

TB is a serious infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium.

The bacteria is typically found in the lungs, but other parts of the body, including the brain, can also become infected. It can be fatal if left untreated.

Tuberculosis is most prevalent in underdeveloped countries. People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are more susceptible to becoming infected with TB than those who are healthy.

TB is spread via droplets (including those from coughs and sneezes) from an infected person.

Tuberculosis Facts and Figures in the United States

It's not surprising that the number of cases of TB and deaths caused by it are much lower in the United States and other industrialized nations. As the statistics from WHO reveal, death from TB is more prevalent in countries with higher numbers of low to middle-income residents.

  • 9,421 cases of TB were reported in the U.S. in 2014. No TB-associated deaths were reported.

  • Although the reported cases of tuberculosis in the U.S. have declined in all groups, Hispanic, Black (African American), and Asian people experience a disproportionate number of cases diagnosed versus the percentage of each group in the total population.

  • The number of reported cases of TB have been in decline since 1992, when 26,673 cases were reported.

If interested in learning more about tuberculosis and the deadly role it has played in human history, this video documentary is chock full of information:

In Summary

Major strides have been made in recent decades in decreasing the incidence and deadliness of this disease that was at one time a certain death sentence if acquired.

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Although the United States and many other industrialized nations rarely have reason to talk about tuberculosis any longer, there are many places in the world where TB still claims lives. #News