Russia ravaged

has devastated Russia's population. Tatyana Dmitrieva, Russian health minister, says that the incidence of tuberculosis had more than doubled since 1991, reaching 68 cases per 1,00,000 people. It is 18 cases above the epidemic threshold as defined by the World Health Organisation.

According to Russian health authorities, over two million victims of tuberculosis were registered last year. Russia is one of 10 tuberculosis, "hot spots,' placing it on par with India, Ivory Coast and the Dominican Republic. The explosion of tuberculosis is part of the overall health crisis in Russia that has brought the average life expectancy for males down from 65 to 57 years in the 1990s. Tuberculosis is thought of as a poor person's illness. Roughly half of its victims are alcoholics and unemployed.

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