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The Source: Tuberculosis, The Second Largest Disease Killer In World

Greg Zaragoza for Texas Public Radio

Tuberculosis (TB) is not commonly thought of in Texas or the US., but it killed 1.3 million people in the world last year and ranks second only to HIV/AIDS in death by a single infectious disease.

The TB death rate declined 45 percent from 1990 to 2012, according to the World Health Organization, but in later years that decline has slowed. A single cough can infect and drug-resistant strains have been found in every country on the planet.

While overall incidence of TB fell, the rise of multi-drug resistant TB is rising.

Five people were found with multi-drug-resistant TB in Texas in 2012. The state had 1,233 cases of TB in the same year, according to the Texas Department of Health Services. More than half of those cases were foreign born. 

A new Frontline documentary, "TB Silent Killer," details the horrors the disease is visiting upon the developing world, where two out of three people infected will die from the disease.

What does the rise of extensively drug-resistant TB mean for all of us?


  • Jezza Neumann, director of "TB Silent Killer"

"TB Silent Killer" airs on KLRN tomorrow, March 25, 2014 at 9 p.m.:

*This is the second segment in the March 24 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive