TB still kills hundreds in Portugal

PORTUGAL HAS one of the highest incidences of Tuberculosis in Europe, with 337 people dying from the disease in 2006, 45 of whom were HIV positive, according to a report published on Monday by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Since 1990, the number of people who have died from TB in Portugal have decreased by around 50 per cent; however, the country continues with the highest number of deaths compared to other countries of similar size and population numbers.

In 2006, 125 deaths relating to TB were registered in Holland, 145 in Belgium and 104 in Austria, while very few deaths occurred in Nordic countries, such as Iceland with one death, Norway with 26 and Finland with 29.

Portugal also has the second highest percentage recorded in Europe for sufferers of TB who are also HIV positive, at 14 per cent. Estonia has the worst incidence, with 18 per cent.

Jorge Sampaio, a former President of Portugal named by the United Nations as a representative for TB prevention, asked the Portuguese footballer Luís Figo to be a public face for the fight against the disease.

Figo, who accepted Jorge Sampaio’s request, made a surprise appearance at a London school on Monday to launch a worldwide multilingual poster campaign entitled Stop TB.

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