The number of people with tuberculosis in Portugal fell 6.1% between 2011 and 2012, but the country is still not considered a “low rate” country, the Health Department said.
“Preliminary figures for 2012 show a fall of 6.1% (...) but Portugal is still above the low-rate bracket of 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants”, Raquel Bessa de Melo said in a written answer to Lusa News Agency because of World Tuberculosis Day, held on Sunday.
In 2011 the Portuguese authorities estimated there were 21 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, but the rate was falling more quickly that the European average so should shortly be under the threshold level, she said.
Raquel Melo also called attention to the fact that the prevalence of Multidrug Resistant TB in the country had been “falling steadily over the past years”, particularly since 2008 and Portugal’s figures were now similar to the rest of Europe.
However, the specialist left a warning note saying “unemployment, poverty and overcrowding have, in the past, been linked to an increase in TB in populations”.