After two decades of decline, tuberculosis (TB) deaths in Europe have risen, warn health officials.
The highly contagious disease, which can be fatal if left untreated, has seen a rise in part because of the Covid pandemic’s disruption on treatment and diagnostic services.
The World Health Organisation’s European Region, comprising of 53 countries, saw 27,300 tuberculosis deaths in 2021 compared to 27,000 in 2020. The most affected countries were Russia and Ukraine with 4,900 and 3,600 respectively.
Last month, health chiefs warned anybody with a cough that’s lasted more than three weeks to get help.
Other illnesses including scarlet fever, measles and mumps have also seen dramatic rises in cases since Covid began.
Speaking to The Sun, Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said: “In 2021, the raging Covid-19 pandemic continued to heavily affect our Member States.
“TB resources were diverted, and patients experienced difficulties in accessing clinical services, possibly resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment of some TB cases.
“Therefore, we need to increase the number of people diagnosed and successfully treated.”
What Are the Signs of Tuberculosis?
In July 2022, a university in Wales faced an outbreak of Tuberculosis and as a result, Brits were encouraged to recognise the signs of the deadly disease so that they could act quickly.
These signs are:
A persistent cough lasting more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
Unexplained or unintentional weight loss
High temperature (fever)
Tiredness and fatigue
Loss of appetite
New swellings that don’t improve after a few weeks