China 'has halved its TB problem,' survey data suggests

TB

Related Stories

China has more than halved its tuberculosis (TB) prevalence, with rates falling from 170 to 59 per 100,000 population, figures suggest.

The Lancet report says the success is due to a huge expansion of a community-based disease control programme.

The World Health Organization says other countries could use a similar approach.

China is a major contributor to the global TB pandemic, accounting for more than one-tenth of cases worldwide.

Start Quote

China has shown what is possible to achieve when attention and resources are bought to the fight against TB”

End Quote
Lessons from China

The Lancet report reveals what progress China has made on reducing this burden, based on a 20-year-long analysis of national survey data.

Between 1990 and 2000, levels of TB were reduced in provinces where the WHO-recommended directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) programme - rapid detection and cure of infectious tuberculosis patients living in the community - was adopted.

By 2010, TB prevalence in China fell by 57%, tripling the reduction of the previous decade.

The increase of known TB cases treated using DOTS rose from 15% in 2000 to 66% in 2010.

Lead researcher Dr Yu Wang, from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, said: "One of the key global TB targets set by the Stop TB Partnership aims to reduce tuberculosis prevalence by 50% between 1990 and 2015.

man with TB Without early treatment there can be complications that require hospitalisation

"This study in China is the first to show the feasibility of achieving such a target, and China achieved this five years earlier than the target date."

The 2014 World Health Assembly will look at eliminating TB and setting ambitious new targets which could include a 50% reduction in tuberculosis prevalence between 2015 and 2025.

Giovanni Battista Migliori from WHO said: "The results from China show the feasibility of achieving such a target by aggressively scaling up the basic programmatic elements of tuberculosis control both within and outside the public sector."

He said other countries could learn from China's example.

TB remains a big issue in many countries, including India, Russia and many African nations. Better diagnostic tools and treatments are still needed.

Aaron Oxley of Stop TB UK said: "China has shown what is possible to achieve when attention and resources are brought to the fight against TB. But nearly 4,000 people still die from TB every day, and 3 million cases go undiagnosed each year. We still have a long way to go."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Health stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

BBC Future

(Mike Keeling/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

The bug we’re programmed to fear

Why are we so revolted by roaches? Read more...

Programmes

  • Bitcoin logoClick Watch

    The developer behind the new Bitcoin tech on the fears it will hide criminal activity

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.