On World TB Day, health officials in Mozambique announced that the southeast African nation sees up to 140,000 cases of tuberculosis a year, according to an African news source.
Mozambique’s Deputy Health Minister, Mouzinho Saide says only half of those infected begin medical treatment against the bacterial disease.
Saide said “TB is a public health problem in the country and on this day we make a reflection on the state of tuberculosis in countries and on their status in the world.
“Mozambique, one of the most affected countries by the disease, we will not make this reflection.”
In Maputo, the country’s capital, researchers at Eduardo Mondlane University have nine giant rats that are trained to “sniff-out” tuberculosis in sputum samples.
After months of training in Tanzania, the rats dart around the samples sniffing out the bacterium. When found, they tell lab personnel which are positive by stopping and rubbing it’s legs.
In what would take laboratory personnel days to complete, the rats can run through 100 samples in about a half-hour.
In a National Institutes of Health release today, World TB Day, March 24, marks the day in 1882 when German microbiologist Robert Koch announced his discovery of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB).
Despite the considerable progress made since that discovery, TB remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases. In 2013, an estimated 9 million people became ill with TB, and 1.5 million people died, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
This airborne disease is a leading killer of women and children worldwide. TB co-infection is the major cause of death among HIV-infected people killing roughly 1 in 4 who are co-infected. The growing problems of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB further intensify the TB crisis.
WHO’s theme for World TB Day 2015, Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone, highlights the continued need to effectively diagnose, treat, and cure those afflicted with the disease — many of whom live in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities.