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June 23, 2021, 03.00 PM

It is not spread by sharing eating utensils, shaking hands, hugging, touching bed linen or toilet seats, sex, or sharing saliva when kissing someone. Symptoms include a cough, chest pain, fatigue, fever and weight loss.

Also read: Indonesia to Ban New Year's Celebration in Public Places

Close or long-term contact is usually required for someone to become infected. About one-quarter of the world’s population is estimated to be infected with TB bacteria, according to the WHO, and only 5% to 15% of these people develop active TB disease.

Most people who have had treatment for a few weeks are no longer contagious.

Overcrowded homes and spaces, malnutrition, HIV, substance abuse and diabetes are some of the risk factors for TB. People can also have a latent TB infection that might become active even years later when their immune system is weak.

COVID-19 erases years of TB progress

Though scientists have worked around the clock to develop vaccines for Sars-CoV-2, there is only one effective vaccine for TB, Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG). It was first tested on humans in 1921. The BCG vaccine is quite effective in children but doesn't work very well for adults.

Scientists recently developed another vaccine based on BCG. Once the vaccine has successfully completed clinical testing, there are plans to use it against tuberculosis worldwide within the next few years.

An estimated 1.4 million fewer people received care for TB in 2020 than in 2019, the WHO announced on Tuesday, citing preliminary data from more than 80 countries.

The countries with the biggest relative gaps were Indonesia (42% fewer TB patients received care), South Africa (41%), the Philippines (37%) and India (25%).

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