Tuberculosis in Europe
In the 19th century tuberculosis killed one in four people in Europe and the United States. As living conditions and medical interventions have improved, a drop in mortality occurred over the 20th century,1 but in recent decades these areas have seen a re-emergence of the disease.
The rise of tuberculosis has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable sections of society. Zsuzsanna Jakab, World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, said that the WHO European Region has “the lowest treatment success rate in the world compared to other WHO regions, and the highest levels of drug resistant TB [tuberculosis] . . . TB hits the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.”2
The European Commission called 2010 “the European year for combating poverty and social exclusion.”3 The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control published evidence showing a direct relation between wealth inequality and the prevalence of tuberculosis in European countries; and that European