As the coronavirus death toll mounts and not wishing to take anything away from the seriousness of the present situation, global health authorities are reminding that tuberculosis is deadliest infectious disease in the world.
1.5 million people died from the bacterial infection in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. Over 4,000 people die of tuberculosis every day.
Approximately 10 million people are infected with tuberculosis every year. Only a small portion of global cases receive the necessary life-saving medicine.
In Asia and Africa, it is tuberculosis patients who are most likely to be killed by the coronavirus.
"For millions of people with tuberculosis, the coronavirus represents a significant danger because their lungs are already weakened by tuberculosis, their general health is low due poverty, and they don’t have access to adequate healthcare," explained Burkard Kömm, director of the agency German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief (DAHW)
Tuberculosis can be cured if treated over six months with a cocktail of four different antibiotics. However, many patients end their treatment early or develop a resistance to the medication that complicates and prolongs treatment. A lack of medicine is a common reason why patients end their treatment early.