China's TB epidemic

The World

Nearly half of China's population carries the bacteria that causes tuberculosis and 5 million people here develop the disease every year, according to a new study from the Chinese Ministry of Health.

The study, reported in state-run media on World Tuberculosis Day, revealed some staggering statistics: an estimated 500 million Chinese citizens (45 percent of the population) are TB carriers, creating a TB epidemic second only to that of India and accounting for 14 percent of the world's TB carriers. As China has developed and grown wealthier, it hasn't reined in its TB problem. Health officials have long called for more serious measures to tackle the potentially deadly disease but with such a high infection rate, they face an uphill battle.

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