NAIROBI – People living with HIV suffer from malnutrition or diabetes and those who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill with Tuberculosis.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, people who are infected with HIV are 20 to 30 times more likely to develop active TB.
“The risk of active TB is greater in persons suffering from conditions that impair the immune system. This includes HIV, malnutrition and diabetes,” read the report.
People living with HIV are 20 to 30 times more likely to develop active TB disease than people without HIV.
The report which was reviewed in January 2018 pointed out that tobacco use greatly increased the risk of contracting TB.
It pointed out that eight percent of TB cases worldwide are attributed to smoking.
“Tobacco use greatly increases the risk of TB disease and death. Eight per cent of TB cases worldwide are attributable to smoking,” the report reads. HIV and TB form a lethal combination, each speeding the other’s progress.
In 2016 about 0.4 million people died of HIV-associated TB. About 40 per cent of deaths among HIV-positive people were due to TB in 2016.
“In 2016, there were an estimated 1.4 million new cases of TB amongst people who were HIV-positive, 74 per cent of whom were living in Africa,” the report further stated.
One million children aged between zero and 14 years of age fell ill with TB, and 250 000 children, including children with HIV associated TB, died from the disease in 2016.
Factors such as malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation, compounded by other risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use and diabetes, affect vulnerability to TB and access to care.
In Kenya, an estimated 482,882 children suffer from acute malnutrition, including 104,614 who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Approximately 29,000 deaths were attributed to tuberculosis in 2017. WHO said more than half of persons estimated to have TB were not diagnosed or treated.
Kenya put the actual number of people who contract the disease every year at 138,105.
WHO noted that many people suffering from TB do not know it as it continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming over 4,500 lives a day.
“Every day there are 28,500 new cases, 4, 600 deaths and 11,100 missed cases worldwide,” said WHO.
In 2017, WHO reported that 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2016, making it the top infectious killer worldwide.