Factors that influence current tuberculosis epidemiology
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- Millet, J., Moreno, A., Fina, L. et al. Eur Spine J (2013) 22: 539. doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2334-8
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According to WHO estimates, in 2010 there were 8.8 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) and 1.5 million deaths. TB has been classically associated with poverty, overcrowding and malnutrition. Low income countries and deprived areas, within big cities in developed countries, present the highest TB incidences and TB mortality rates. These are the settings where immigration, important social inequalities, HIV infection and drug or alcohol abuse may coexist, all factors strongly associated with TB. In spite of the political, economical, research and community efforts, TB remains a major global health problem worldwide. Moreover, in this new century, new challenges such as multidrug-resistance extension, migration to big cities and the new treatments with anti-tumour necrosis alpha factor for inflammatory diseases have emerged and threaten the decreasing trend in the global number of TB cases in the last years. We must also be aware about the impact that smoking and diabetes pandemics may be having on the incidence of TB. The existence of a good TB Prevention and Control Program is essential to fight against TB. The coordination among clinicians, microbiologists, epidemiologists and others, and the link between surveillance, control and research should always be a priority for a TB Program. Each city and country should define their needs according to the epidemiological situation. Local TB control programs will have to adapt to any new challenge that arises in order to respond to the needs of their population.