On a come back trail
DISEASES Once considered eradicated seem to have made an alarming reappearance across countries in Europe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). At a recent conference organised by the world health body in London, UK, its officials have sought a us $20 million assistance to control cholera, diptheria and sexually transmitted diseases, in a 10-point programme.
Probing into the resurgence of these once-forgotten diseases, Jo Asvall, regional director, WHO, believes that while the collapse of the communist regime allowed several new countries to emerge, it also led to an economic collapse in these countries. "In consequence, we are seeing a re-emergence of diseases that we thought were safely behind us. Communicable diseases won't stop at border crossings", observes Asvall.
Syphilis infections in eastern Europe have risen dramatically since the '90s. In the Black Sea region, cholera cases have risen nine-fold between 1993-94. Diptheria, which was almost eliminated, has returned with a vengeance, claiming 1,500 lives in the last year alone. Tuberculosis cases also have increased worldwide. Asvall predicts that 30 million people will die of tuberculosis in the next 10 years - more than from AIDS, malaria and tropical diseases put together.