Communicable (infectious) Disease
Which communicable (infectious) disease problems are reported most frequently?
Today, infectious diseases are responsible for millions of deaths across the world. Various disease problems including cholera, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and Hepatitis among others are threatening the lives of human beings across the world. Although improved living conditions and effective vaccines have helped control these diseases, they are still responsible for the largest global burden. While all these diseases are reported across the world, tuberculosis (TB) is the most commonly reported communicable disease problem. Most often, TB affects the lungs. It is spread through air from one person to another. It is, however, preventable and curable. Tuberculosis is the most reported communicable disease across the world.
Compared to other diseases, TB is the most reported infectious disease across the world. According to the World Health Organization, over 10.4 million cases of TB are reported every year. This is compared to other diseases such as Cholera which WHO estimates 200,000 cases every year (see figure 1). WHO also estimates 1.4 million new cases of Hepatitis A (Holmes et al., 2017). It is also estimated that one-third of these cases are not reported. In 2017 alone, 10 million cases of TB were reported worldwide (Holmes et al., 2017). Although the number is reducing every year, it is still high. According to this report, the TB epidemic is larger than what people expected. These statistics show that TB is a common infectious disease.
TB is the leading cause of death in the world. WHO estimates that over 1.5 million people die from TB annually (WHO, 2016). In 2015, it was estimated that 1.4 million people died from TB. WHO reports that although the number of deaths reduced by 22% between the years 2000 and 2015, the disease still remains the leading cause of death globally (WHO, 2016). For example, while HIV/AIDS caused 800,000 deaths in 2015, TB caused 1.1 deaths. This shows that TB is killing more people compared to HIV/AIDS. The disease largely affects people with HIV/AIDS. According to WHO, one in three cases of deaths related to AIDS is caused by TB.
The lengthy treatment of TB slows its prevention and treatment. Treating TB takes months. This time makes it hard for patients as well as healthcare providers to prevent and cure the disease. This is especially worse in developing countries (Holmes et al., 2017). As a result, the disease continues to spread infecting more and more people. The problem of drug-resistant is also making it difficult to control the spread of communicable diseases. Due to the resistant, better drugs are required that even take longer to cure the disease. Tolerating such drugs is difficult making the case even worse (Holmes et al., 2017). This means that over half of people diagnosed with TB drug-resistant are not be treated successfully. In fact, many deaths have been reported associated with resistant TB drugs.
Anyone can suffer from TB. TB affects people in all social classes. Although TB affects poor people more, it also affects the rich. This is unlike other diseases such as cholera that are less likely to be reported in developed countries. It also affects children as well as adults. For example, in 2015, over 1 million cases of TB were reported among children (Holmes et al., 2017). 140,000 children were also reported to have died from the disease. This fact that TB can affect anyone makes its spread worse. When less effective preventive measures are taken, more people are infected. This among others makes it the most common communicable disease.
In conclusion, tuberculosis is the most reported communicable disease across the world. Any person can be infected by the disease, child or adult. A person suffering from HIV is at a greater risk of developing the disease. TB is spread through the air from person to person. According to World Health Organization, measures are being taken to control the spread of the disease. However, more need to be done because there are many cases that are still being reported globally compared to other infectious diseases. However, tuberculosis can be cured and can also be prevented. It is thus important that people are educated on how to stay safe from the disease. For those who are infected, it is important that treatment is made available.
Holmes, K., Bertozzi, S. & Bloom, B. (2017). Major Infectious Diseases. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank.
World Health Organization (WHO) (2016). Global Tuberculosis Report 2016, 1-214.
Figure 1: Reported cases per year (TB, cholera, Hepatitis A)
Source: Holmes, K., Bertozzi, S. & Bloom, B. (2017). Major Infectious Diseases. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank.