Tuberculosis Strikes Back!
SINCE the 1950’s, the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases declined in the United States at a rate of 5 percent a year. However, since 1985 there has been an 18-percent increase in reported TB cases. Even more disturbing is the presence of a new type of the disease that is not responsive to drug treatment. TB now kills an estimated three million people each year. Why is the fight against TB turning into a losing battle?
One reason is that many patients simply fail to take their medication for the duration required—often six to nine months. In New York City, for example, one study revealed that 89 percent of a group of some 200 patients with active TB did not complete their treatment. “That’s horrendous,” says Dr. Lee Reichman, president of the American Lung Association, “because those people are (a) not going to be cured, and (b) they’re probably going to develop TB that’s resistant to the commonly used drugs.” But these carriers can affect more than their own health. “By not taking their medication,” Dr. Reichman adds, “they can infect other people.” This is no doubt a contributing factor in the estimated eight million new cases diagnosed worldwide each year.
Bible students realize that ‘pestilences in one place after another’ are a part of the sign that we are living in “the last days” of this system of things. (Luke 21:11; 2 Timothy 3:1) What will follow? A new earth, in which “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24) Yes, Jehovah God promises, not temporary relief, but permanent release from sickness and death.—Revelation 21:1-4.