The worst TB outbreak in more than a quarter-century is plaguing Romania, as six people die each day from the disease, a government official said on March 25. Romania's TB rate is at its highest level in 27 years, with close to 82 new cases reported daily, of which more than 50 are contagious, said Paul Stoicescu, a lung disease unit leader at the Romanian Health Ministry. Stoicescu cited poverty and people neglecting their health as the main causes of the disease, and stated that most of the reported TB cases occurred in the poor areas in the southeast of the country. Statistics from 2002 show that the country has one of the highest rates of infant TB in Europe, said Stoicescu. Health Minister Daniela Bartos said that authorities will allocate some 220 billion lei (US$6.7 million) to stop the spread of TB, with some of the funding supplemented by foreign donations.
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