Tuberculosis caused an average of 14 deaths per day in Brazil in 2021, the largest number in nearly two decades and an increase caused by the fall in vaccination rates, according to data released by the Government this Friday, when the World Day to Combat Tuberculosis is commemorated. According to the Ministry of Health, in 2021, the last year with complete data, Brazil registered 78,057 new cases of tuberculosis, a number 4.9% higher than in 2020 (74,385), as well as 5,072 deaths, with a growth of 11%. compared to the immediately previous year (4,569).

The largest Latin American country did not register more than 5,000 deaths from tuberculosis since 2002 thanks to the universalization of its vaccination campaign, which has lost strength in recent years due to the expansion of denial against immunizers. The number of tuberculosis cases in Brazil remained stable between 2010 and 2019, when 79,000 positives were registered, and fell to 70,500 in 2020, partly due to underreporting, but in 2021 it rose again to 78,000.

Despite the fact that the Ministry has not yet finished counting the numbers for 2022, preliminary data indicates that the situation remained stable, with 78,000 new cases, an incidence of 36.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Such numbers threaten the Government’s goal of reducing the incidence of tuberculosis by 90%, to less than 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2035.

The Ministry warned that the vaccination coverage against tuberculosis, which a decade ago was above 95% of the white public, fell from 2018 below 88%. According to the Government, the increase in the incidence of the disease was also caused by the crisis generated by the covid pandemic, since notifications were reduced by 12% in 2020 due to the lack of control since almost 14 % of the patients suspended their treatments.

This caused the cure rates to fall from 73.8% of patients treated in 2019 to 66.5% in 2020. “It is not acceptable that in the 21st century people lose their lives for a disease that has prevention, treatment and cure“, affirmed the Minister of Health, Nísia Trindade, in an act in which a new campaign against tuberculosis was launched, with the goal of eliminating the disease in Brazil as a public health problem before 2030.

The minister added that Brazil agreed with India and Indonesia, two other countries among those most affected by tuberculosis, make the fight against the disease one of the priorities of the G20the forum that brings together the most developed countries and emerging economies.