Newswise — (October 17, 2019) -- Following today’s release of the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2019, the American Thoracic Society joins the WHO in calling for redoubled efforts to end the global TB pandemic by 2030, the goal set by the global community in the United Nations Political Declaration to End Tuberculosis on Sept. 26, 2018.

The WHO report finds that TB remains the leading global infectious disease killer. WHO’s data shows that while TB deaths declined slightly, from 1.6 million in 2017 to 1.5 million in 2018, the number of new TB cases remained steady at about 10 million in both 2017 and 2018. On drug resistant TB (DR), WHO reports a slight improvement in detection and treatment initiation, with one in three of the approximately half a million people with DR-TB enrolled in treatment in 2018, up from one in four enrolled in treatment in 2017.

"The historic U.N. Political Declaration to End TB secured global commitments to put us on track to finally ending TB. We need to build on the increased global awareness and scientific advances in new TB diagnostics, treatments and prevention strategies,” said TB expert and ATS International Health Committee Chair, David Lewinsohn, MD. “Now is the time for countries, including the U.S., to redouble efforts to eliminate TB.”

Dr. Lewinsohn added, “In the U.S., we urge the Administration and Congress to ensure that we meet the U.S. commitment to end TB by fully funding our global and domestic TB programs through USAID, CDC and the Global Fund and TB research through the National Institutes of Health. We urge Congress to pass the End TB Now Act of 2019, S. 2438, and the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act, S. 834/H.R. 3080.”

“The ATS, originally founded as the American Sanitorium Association in 1905, and our more than 16,000 worldwide members pledge to continue our work to eliminate TB. In collaboration with the WHO and other partners, we have produced international standards of care and provided technical assistance in implementing these standards and other TB control, treatment and prevention strategies in 23 countries,” noted ATS President James Beck, MD.

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World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2019