Adverse effects of the pandemic: death toll

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The death toll from tuberculosis has risen for the first time in Europe in two decades as a result of delays or misdiagnosis caused by the blockade of health care due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday. quoted by the Spanish news agency EFE and Agerpres.

The WHO European region – which includes 53 countries, including Russia and the former Soviet republics – reported 21,000 deaths from tuberculosis in 2020, up 5% from the previous year, while in European Union (EU) countries and the European Economic Area (EEA) growth was 6.7% (3,800 deaths).

However, the number of new TB cases has declined slightly, “probably exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has obstructed the detection and notification of cases,” according to a report by the WHO and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). ).

Thus, in the whole region there were over 160,000 cases, less by 35% percent, and in the EU / EEA region, about 33,000 cases (less by 44% annual average).

“Tuberculosis remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world, second only to COVID-19, and drug-resistant tuberculosis is a major concern,” he said. context of the pandemic.

WHO-Europe Director Hans Kluge notes in a statement that the reduction in the number of cases exceeds expectations and illustrates the progress of tests and treatment strategies, but also drew attention to the increase in the number of deaths caused by tuberculosis during the pandemic.

“To ensure continued progress, we need to consider innovative and effective approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis and its drug-resistant variants,” said Kluge on World Tuberculosis Day, March 24. .