Beijing, March 24 (IANS) China registers around 900,000 new cases of tuberculosis every year and remains among the 30 countries with the highest incidence of the disease, despite a decline in cases since 2011, health authorities said here on Friday.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission said that by the end of 2016, 65 out of every 100,000 people were infected with tuberculosis, a figure that experts consider high despite having dropped by 14 per cent in the last six years, the China Daily reported Friday.
“China also plans to intensify research in the prevention and control of TB in the next few years,” the commission said, adding that “a focus will be on research in preventive and curable vaccines for the disease.”
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. It usually affects the lungs but can occur anywhere in the body.
The country’s western regions are the most affected by the disease, with Xinjiang, in the northwest, leading the list with 184.5 infected per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015.
China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan visited a high school in Tianjin city on Thursday to raise awareness about the prevention of TB.
Peng, a World Health Organization (WHO) goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, joined a class meeting about fighting the disease, and looked over an exhibition of students’ work promoting prevention.
According to the WHO, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB in 2015 and 1.8 million died.
Eradicating TB by 2030 is one of the UN’s sustainable development goals, an initiative that WHO supports under the umbrella of its End TB Strategy.