World Tuberculosis Day 2014
The theme for 2014 was multidrug resistance tuberculosis (MDR TB), particularly MDR TB treatment and treatment outcomes. As part of the “Progress towards TB elimination in the EU”, a follow-up to the Framework Action Plan to Fight TB in the EU, ECDC has been monitoring the trend in new MDR TB cases and treatment success. The low treatment success rate in EU/EEA countries is considered a threat to patient survival and a risk for development of XDR TB, which has even worse treatment outcomes.
Falling on the 24 March each year, World Tuberculosis Day aims at raising public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis.
It is a worldwide initiative which aims at raising awareness about the global epidemics of tuberculosis and the efforts made to eliminate this preventable disease. World TB Day provides an opportunity to communicate TB-related problems and solutions and to support European TB-control efforts.
In the EU/EEA, the treatment success rates of MDR TB patients have remained stable but at a very low level: only one in every three (34%) patients in the reporting EU/EEA countries finishes MDR TB treatment successfully. More than half die, fail treatment or default (stop taking treatment).
MDR and XDR TB patients face much longer treatment, take more drugs, suffer from more side effects and treatment costs are five times higher compared to drug-susceptible TB. Only complete and successful tuberculosis treatment helps to prevent disease transmission and development of resistant strains that lead to the development of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB), which is almost impossible to treat.
Merely 7 of the 21 countries reporting have maintained a mean five-year decline in MDR notification rates and the overall MDR TB treatment success rate remains far below the 70% target defined by the Framework Action Plan to Fight Tuberculosis in the European Union.
TB is slowly declining but MDR and XDR TB pose a serious challenge in the attempt to eliminate TB across Europe, even though the number of reported MDR TB cases seem to decline slowly.
In EU, only 1 in every 3 MDR TB patients has a successful treatment outcome; more than half either die, fail treatment or default (stop taking treatment). XDR TB has even worse treatment outcomes: only 1 in 4 patients finishes treatment successfully.
By not diagnosing and not treating patients with MDR TB early and successfully, we put their live at risk and pave the way for XDR TB.
Only complete and successful tuberculosis treatment helps to prevent disease transmission and development of resistant strains.