Virtually wiped out in the United States years ago, tuberculosis cases continue to grow in Perú, which, after Haiti, has the highest rate of TB in Latin America.

A sluggish response to tuberculosis in the 1990s has made Perú one of the worst hit countries in the world. Every region in the country has cases of the highly contagious disease, even though the country has spent millions in prevention programs, according to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio.

TB is transmitted through the air by a cough or sneeze, or even when someone speaks. The bacteria attack the lungs and can be fatal if left untreated.

For years in the 1990s, funding problem and administrative issues caused the country to virtually ignore the TB problem in the country, and it continued growing worse.

While Peru accounts for 3 percent of the population in Latin America, with about 29.5 million inhabitants, it has 12 percent of the region’s TB cases, according to the World Health Organization.

Perú eventually overhauled its National TB Program, with its myriad of problems, and in its place created the National Sanitary Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis.

The disease, whose symptoms include a bad cough and loss of appetite, sickened over 35,000 people in the country last year, according to the WHO.  

The country is now trying to pour millions into prevention efforts to alleviate the problem.

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