South Korea Stepping Up Fight Against TB, CBS News Reports

CBS News examines the fight against tuberculosis (TB) in South Korea, which “has the highest incidence rate of tuberculosis among the world’s wealthiest countries, nations [that] belong to the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).” The news service continues, “In 2010, South Korea’s incidence rate of tuberculosis was 97 out of 100,000, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while the mortality rate of TB was 5.4 out of 100,000. (In the U.S., the incidence rate was 4.1 and the mortality rate was 0.18 during the same time period.)”

Many public health officials say the high rate of TB is a “legacy” of the Korean War, but the nation “made great strides in detecting and treating tuberculosis patients from the 1960s to the early 1990s,” the news service notes. The fight against the disease waned in 1995, but “[l]ast year, the South Korean health ministry quadrupled the annual budget for its tuberculosis program from previous years to 45 billion won ($39.9 million),” according to CBS News. However, “[e]xperts agree that the long-term public health goal of reducing the incidence rate of TB in South Korea by a quarter by 2020, and eliminating it completely by 2030, are infeasible,” the news service writes (2/21).