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RKI: Doctors concerned about tuberculosis diseases

RKI: Doctors concerned about tuberculosis diseases

RKI: Warning of multi-resistant tuberculosis diseases

Tuberculosis is still one of the most dangerous infectious diseases worldwide, although it is actually curable. In Germany, the number of people suffering from tuberculosis hardly ever drops, and multi-resistant diseases even increase slightly.

The number of people with tuberculosis has hardly dropped for years On the occasion of the World Tuberculosis Day 2014 on March 24, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin announced that the number of people suffering from tuberculosis in Germany was hardly decreasing. And in the case of multi-resistant diseases, the number of cases increases even slightly. A total of 4,220 tuberculosis cases were submitted to the RKI for 2012, compared to 4,317 in the previous year. This means that the number of cases has hardly dropped for the fourth year in a row. The number of diseases had declined significantly each year in the previous years. According to the institute, a total of 146 patients died of tuberculosis in 2012 (144 in 2011). The number of children with tuberculosis, which had risen continuously since 2009, remained unchanged at 178 cases in 2012 compared to 2011.

Diseases caused by multidrug-resistant strains A worrying development is that the proportion of diseases caused by multidrug-resistant strains has increased. In 2012, it was 2.3 percent (65 cases) higher than the average of the previous five years (2007-2011: 1.9 percent). At least the two most important standard medicines, isoniazid and rifampicin, are ineffective against multi-resistance. These infections with multi-resistant pathogens in particular are dangerous. "The current development in resistant tuberculosis requires special vigilance," said the RKI in its annual report. RKI President Reinhard Burger called for the joint efforts in early detection and prevention to be intensified.

Above-average figures in metropolitan areas and large cities According to the institute, around half of tuberculosis patients in Germany come from abroad. According to this, most of the patients come from Turkey, Romania or Russia. The RKI also pointed out that the number of reported cases per 100,000 inhabitants, in metropolitan areas and large cities is above the national average of 5.2. Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen are the federal states with the most new cases per inhabitant. The fewest new cases per inhabitant were found in Thuringia, Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein.

Tuberculosis can usually be treated with antibiotics. Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that mainly affect the lungs. If the pathogen is not multi-resistant, the disease can usually be treated with antibiotics. The disease, which is also known as consumption, leads to various symptoms such as persistent cough, chronic fatigue, weight loss, fever with night sweats or a prick in the chest. Untreated tuberculosis leads to death in most cases. According to the RKI, around 8.6 million people worldwide developed tuberculosis in 2012. (sb)

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