Tuberculosis as a global challenge: risks, solutions, and prospects

Every year on March 24, the world celebrates World TB Day, reminding us of the need to keep fighting this old but still relevant enemy. The choice of this date is not accidental – it was on March 24, 1882, that Robert Koch announced his discovery of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, which was a breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. This year, World TB Day was celebrated under the slogan “Yes! We can end TB!”. Virusoff looks at the key causes of the spread of the disease, who is most at risk, and current recommendations for overcoming TB both in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region and globally.

For many decades, tuberculosis has remained one of the most serious public health problems. Even with modern methods of diagnosis and treatment, this disease continues to claim lives and have a serious impact on human health. According to the World Health Organization, about 275,000 people fall ill in Europe each year, and TB remains the second leading cause of death from infectious diseases after COVID-19. The statistics are equally alarming in EECA, where more than 1.7 million people are living with HIV, and every day more than 400 people become infected with HIV, making TB the leading cause of death among the PLHIV community.

In general, however, research suggests that there are three main groups of people at increased risk of contracting and developing TB. The first group includes medical personnel, families, and relatives of TB patients, as well as prisoners and prison staff. The second group includes people with limited access to food and health services, including women, children, people living in remote areas, and migrants and homeless people. The third group is immunocompromised people, including people living with HIV, diabetic patients, and people who use drugs.

One of the key objectives of World TB Day is to raise awareness of the disease. It is worth remembering that the fight against TB requires a comprehensive approach. It is important not only to provide effective treatment but also to improve living conditions for those at risk. This includes improving access to clean drinking water, and sanitation, and providing a quality and balanced diet.

One of the key aspects of successful TB control is prevention. Preventive measures such as vaccination, regular medical examinations, and educating the population about methods of protection against infection play an important role in reducing the risk of the disease and the spread of the disease in the EECA region.

In addition, it is important to conduct educational campaigns aimed at raising awareness about TB and breaking the stigma that accompanies the disease. False perceptions and fear of TB can hinder access to medical care and prevention, making education and information campaigns as important as treatment itself.

Innovations in medical technology also play an important role in the fight against TB. The development of new diagnostic and treatment methods, as well as the search for effective vaccines, are research priorities. Only by continuously introducing new technologies and improving approaches to fighting this disease can we achieve meaningful results.

Together we can overcome TB. Joint efforts of governments, medical organizations, the scientific community, and the public can reduce the spread of this disease and save millions of lives in the EECA region and around the world. Our common goal is to live in a world where TB is no longer a threat to humanity.