Medicine pills drugs prescription 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The prevalence of tuberculosis, often referred to as TB, in Israel was reduced
by more than half between 1998 and 2010 by ensuring that patients regularly take
a “cocktail” of antibiotics until the bacterial disease is defeated, the Health
Ministry said on Tuesday.
World TB Day was held this week.
ministry and the four health funds have implemented the program to fight TB
during the past 15 years using specially trained teams. The prevalence has
dropped from 10.9 cases per 100,000 residents to 4.5 per 100,000. The success of
treatment, which is reduced if TB patients stop taking their medications when
they feel better but the bacteria are not destroyed, has increased from 26
percent in 1998 to 85% today.
In 2010, some 8.8 million people around the
world contracted TB, according to the World Health Organization.
them were in Southeast Asis, Africa and the northern part of the Pacific
The Health Ministry’s AIDS and TB Department reported in 2010 a
total of 344 new TB patients, compared to 347 a year before. Most of the new
patients (87.5%) were born outside Israel, mostly in countries where TB is
The tuberculosis mycobacterium was discovered by
Robert Koch in 1882. In that year, one out of every seven residents
of Europe and America died of TB. Despite high hopes that the discovery would
help fight the disease, since then more than 200 million people around the world
have died of the lung infection.
Since the 1980s, there has been an
increase in prevalence in the developed countries. In 1993, the WHO declared for
the first time that TB had caused a global emergency.
In 1996, TB was
declared a “dangerous infectious disease” in Israel, and the next year, a
national program to fight it was launched.
To recover, TB patients must
take the drug cocktail for at least six months without
Doing so brings about a more than 90% recovery rate. Before
antibiotics were discovered, half of all patients died of it. As people don’t
like to be “bothered” to take their pills when they feel better, the policy is
“short-course directly observed treatment” (DOTS).
This has worked so
well in Israel that the WHO’s European Region recognized its DOTS program as a
If the cocktail is not taken properly, multi-drug
resistant TB bacteria result, reducing the success in treatment. Some Israeli
patients who have not been helped by any antibiotics have been
A conference on fighting TB will be held on Wednesday at Tel
Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.