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Despite progress, preventable TB-related deaths still common in the UNECE region

Tuberculosis (TB) is curable and preventable, and its epidemic has been reversed in the UNECE Region. Nevertheless, it is estimated that around 36,000 people died from this bacterial infection in the region in 2012.

Several countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) have high TB death rates, with the Russian Federation having the third highest number of TB-related deaths in the world. Amongst current EU member states, Romania and the three Baltic countries have the highest levels. In the more affected countries, TB death rates increased sharply in the 1990s. Whilst TB has started to decline again in these countries, levels are still above 1990 levels in most of them.

Countries such as Cyprus, the Netherlands and Norway had low levels throughout the 1990-2012 period, while Hungary and Uzbekistan managed to bring down their TB death rates rapidly. This shows that public health initiatives can be effective against TB.

TB mostly affects young adults. Infected people are more likely to become ill if they have additional health problems. In the UNECE region, about ten per cent of TB related deaths are among HIV-positive persons. Increased multidrug-resistance is also becoming a challenge in EECCA countries.