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You might be under the impression that tuberculosis (TB) is slowly getting eliminated, but a recent study published in Lancet had some startling figures.
According to the study, India has the most number of child deaths due to tuberculosis. Over 55,000 children died from the disease in the country in 2015.
During the study an estimated number of 239,000 children aged 14 years and under died from TB in 217 countries in 2015. 80 percent of these were children under five years of age. "This makes TB one of the top 10 causes of death in the age group," said Pete Dodd from the University of Sheffield in the UK.
Over 96 per cent of these deaths were in children not receiving treatment for the disease. Given excellent treatment outcomes, this highlights the scope to reduce this toll by improving treatment coverage.
Most deaths were in the Africa and southeast Asia regions.The highest mortality was found in India, Nigeria, China, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tuberculosis (TB) is thought to have affected more than one million children under 15 worldwide in 2015. Diagnosis of TB in children can be challenging, partly due to insensitive tests and non-specific symptoms.
All these countries are on the current WHO list of 30 high tuberculosis burden countries; all are populous, with tuberculosis incidence rates under 400 per 100,000 per year, researchers said.
"This should be a call to action: TB is preventable and treatable and we must do more to stop these unnecessary deaths in children," said Helen Jenkins, Assistant Professor at Boston University.