This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
There are more people with tuberculosis in India than in anyother country in the world. Each year, tuberculosis infects abouttwo-million people in India and kills nearly five-hundred-thousandpeople. However, this is starting to change. Researchers recentlystudied a tuberculosis control program in India. The study says theprogram has saved about two-hundred-thousand lives and more thanfour-hundred-million dollars.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study about thetuberculosis control program in October. The Indian governmentstarted the program in nineteen-ninety-three. Since that time, aboutthree-and-one-half million patients have been examined fortuberculosis. Almost eight-hundred-thousand patients have receivedmedical treatment.
Also, more than forty percent of India's population can now gettuberculosis services. And more than two-hundred-thousand healthworkers have been trained to examine and treat people with thedisease. This makes India's tuberculosis control program one of theworld's largest public health programs.
Thomas Frieden (FREED-en) of the United States was one of thepeople who wrote the study. He says that India's tuberculosiscontrol program has strengthened the country's general health caresystem. For example, he says the quality of work done inlaboratories has improved.
However, Doctor Frieden says the program includes only half ofIndia. He says the goal is to continue the program while extendingit to the rest of the country. Doctor Frieden believes this will bedifficult because of health threats from the virus that causes AIDSand because some forms of tuberculosis are resistant to drugs.
Currently, the World Health Organization estimates that aboutone-third of the world's population are infected with the bacteriathat cause tuberculosis. Tuberculosis becomes active in only aboutten percent of all cases. However, it can remain in a victim's lungsfor years or even a lifetime.
Infected people spread tuberculosis by releasing particles fromtheir mouths when they cough, sneeze, spit or talk. Signs of thedisease include high body temperature and coughing.
A person with active T-B must take medicine each day for six tonine months to halt progression of the disease.
This VOA Special English Development Report was written by JillMoss.
Adapted from a report by VOA's David McAlary