Today Tunisia celebrates World Tuberculosis Day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2,600 people were infected in Tunisia in 2010, and a total of 3,300 people are living with TB. Each year in our country, TB claims the lives of 230 people.
This year’s World TB Day slogan is “Stop TB in my life”. The phrase represents an international plan to fight against the disease, and a desire to eliminate TB all over the world.
Dhekrayet Gamara, Manager of the National TB Program, stated that Tunisia adopted the WHO’s international DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course) strategy for the elimination of the TB. DOTS aims to reduce the number of affected people to 12 out of 100,000 people by 2015 and to one case in a million by 2050. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has approved a grant of 3,745 Million USD over 5 years to support the national TB response.
Gammara pointed out that in Tunisia, approximately 2,500 cases of Tuberculosis are recorded every year; 50% of those are extra pulmonary Tuberculosis, while 50% of the cases are in the lungs, with the latter being the most dangerous because it is contagious and transmitted through the air. Gammara asserted:”The non sterile and the curd milk are the main causes of the TB,” and that, “The majority of infected people in Tunisia are from the South since they drink the milk directly once it is milked from the cow.” Milk must be sterilized in order to be safe to drink.
World Tuberculosis Day commemorates the achievement of Robert Koch, a German scientist who first discovered the microbe responsible for TB, called the “Mycobacterium Tuberculosis,” in 1882.
Over a century since this microbe was isolated, one third of the world’s population is still threatened by TB. The disease does not affect only human beings but also animals. It damages the respiratory system, the bones and can also affect the brain and the kidneys. The symptoms of TB are coughing up blood, fever, nightly sweats and a significant decrease in weight.