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International News

Scientists Say Recession May Spark Baltic TB Surge

May 3, 2010

In a new study, researchers warn that the global economic downturn could trigger an upsurge in TB cases in the Baltic states.

"The ongoing global financial crisis, which began in 2007, has drawn attention to the effect of declining economic conditions on public health," wrote Nimalan Arinaminpathy, of Oxford University, and Christopher Dye, of the World Health Organization (WHO).

"In the early 1990s, widespread recession across Central and Eastern Europe accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union," the authors wrote. "At the same time, despite previously falling TB incidence in most countries, there was an upsurge of TB cases and deaths throughout the region."

In the current study, the researchers designed models based on WHO data on TB cases and deaths from 1980 to 2006 and World Bank Data on gross domestic product, from which they predicted that Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania could see rising numbers of TB cases in the future.

"If TB epidemiology and control are linked to economies in 2009 as they were in 1991, then the Baltic states, particularly Latvia, are now vulnerable to another upturn in TB cases and deaths," the authors concluded. "We recommend close surveillance and monitoring during the current recession, especially in the Baltic states."

Arinaminpathy noted in an interview, "An upturn in any region becomes a concern for neighboring countries, and because people travel so much these days it also becomes a concern for countries further away."

The study, "Health in Financial Crises: Economic Recession and Tuberculosis in Central and Eastern Europe," was published online in the Royal Society's journal Interface (04.28.10; doi: 10.1098/rsif.2010.0072).

Back to other news for May 2010

Adapted from:
04.27.2010; Kate Kelland

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Tuberculosis (TB) Fact Sheet
Questions and Answers About Tuberculosis
More on Tuberculosis and HIV in Russia/Eastern Europe