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WHO releases new global lists of high-burden countries for TB, HIV-associated TB and DR-TB

2021–2025 update lists Kiribati and PNG as highly endemic countries.

On the 17th June 2021, the World Health Organization released updated global lists of high burden countries for tuberculosis (TB), HIV-associated TB, and multidrug/rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB) for 2021–2025.

The WHO lists inform concerted global action and highlight the foci most in need of intervention to achieve the WHO's End TB Strategy targets. As opposed to the previous 2016-2020 WHO lists of high-burden countries, Kiribati and PNG are now considered to be highly endemic (300–499 new and relapse cases per 100 000 population per year).

Pathway to the Elimination of Antibiotic-Resistant and Latent tuberculosis in the Pacific (PEARL, conducted by a team of TB-CRE researchers and affiliates led by Professor Ben Marais, together with the Australian Respiratory Council), is targeting South Tarawa in Kiribati in its community-wide screen-and-treat study for TB, DR-TB, latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and Leprosy. The findings from the screen-and-treat study, together with cost-effectiveness and strategy modelling (led by Associate Professor James Trauer at Monash University), will support and inform control efforts in response to the increase in tuberculosis burden in the western Pacific.


Figure: The three global HBC lists for TB, TB/HIV and MDR/RR-TB to be used by WHO during the period 2021–2025, and their areas of overlap. Countries in the TB list are those within the red T-shaped border. Countries in the TB/HIV list are within the yellow border. Countries in the MDR/RR-TB list are within the blue border.

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