1.5 million died last year from this curable disease

Patients infected with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis wait to be seen by medical staff in Yangon, Myanmar.

Story highlights

  • World Health Organization releases 2014 Global Tuberculosis Report
  • 9 million people developed tuberculosis in 2013, it says
  • TB is a bacterial infection that can be spread through the air
  • There are several drug regimens approved to treat TB
Thousands have died in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and much of the global conversation has centered on the lack of an approved medication to treat the deadly disease.
Yet in 2013, 1.5 million people died from another infectious disease that has a cure.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization released its 2014 Global Tuberculosis Report, which shows that 9 million people developed tuberculosis in 2013 and 1.5 million died, making it one of the world's deadliest communicable diseases.
"In addition, around 3 million people who fall ill from TB are still being 'missed' by health systems each year either because they are not diagnosed, or because they are diagnosed but not reported," the WHO said in a statement.
Tuberculosis, commonly called TB, is a bacterial infection that can be spread through the air. The bacteria usually attack patients' lungs but can also hit the kidney, spine and brain. Tuberculosis can be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it doesn't have to be.
Four drug regimens are approved to treat TB; the bacteria can usually be conquered by taking a mix of medications for six to nine months.