Sean Cate
Sean Cate
March 15, 2024 ·  3 min read

One of World’s Deadliest Disease Easier to Catch Than Originally Thought, Warn Scientists

Scientists studying tuberculosis (TB), the the world’s deadliest disease, have unveiled alarming findings suggesting that it might be far easier to transmit than we thought. Contrary to earlier belief, a significant portion of individuals infected with TB showed no persistent cough, which in itself challenges conventional diagnostic understandings. This knowledge shows the urgency for a reassessment of TB detection methods and new, heightened awareness among healthcare professionals and the public regarding the dynamics of this disease’s transmission.

Revised Transmission For One of The Deadliest Diseases

Historically, TB transmission has been mainly noted via coughing, sneezing, laughing, or singing. However, recent research by Dutch scientists has tested and broken these ideas open. According to their study, more than 80% of individuals testing positive for TB do not manifest a persistent cough (with nearly two-thirds exhibiting no cough at all).1 

Despite the absence of overt symptoms, these people are still capable of transmitting the disease through saliva expelled during speech or even from breathing, which massively amplifies concerns among health practitioners regarding undetected transmission vectors. The fact that TB doesn’t require any overly strenuous exhalation to be transmitted only further solidifies its title as one of the world’s deadliest disease.

Read More: Experts Warn That ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria May Be Spreading To Seafood, Beaches Due To Climate Change

Implications for Diagnosis and Public Health

Reliance on a persistent cough as a diagnostic marker for TB may lead to delayed diagnoses, which could spread of the disease faster within communities (and unchecked until it’s far too late). Professor Frank Cobelens of Amsterdam University Medical Centre advocates for a paradigm shift in TB diagnostics, emphasizing the need for new approaches to identify asymptomatic carriers.2 Failure to adapt diagnostic protocols, particularly in resource-constrained settings, risks missing a significant number of TB cases, perpetuating its already unchecked nature (probably because we wait for the usual symptoms to occur…).

Advancements in TB treatment and prevention are pivotal in combating the disease’s spread and reducing its burden on healthcare systems. Research efforts aimed at developing novel antibiotics and vaccines hold promise in enhancing treatment efficacy and immunizing vulnerable populations against infection. Additionally, investment in research to identify biomarkers for early TB detection and innovative diagnostic tools can revolutionize disease surveillance and facilitate targeted interventions.

The resurgence of our planet’s deadliest disease, exemplified mainly by a notable increase in England, highlights an urgency to address this public health crisis. Statistics from the UK Health Security Agency reveal a 10% surge in TB cases in 2023 compared to the previous year. Globally, the World Health Organization reported a record-high 7.5 million TB diagnoses in 2022, partly due to disruptions in healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Compounding these challenges is the rise of drug-resistant TB strains, necessitating concerted efforts to contain its proliferation. The deadliest disease is only getting stronger, and we need to be vigilant at all stages of its development, including preventative. 

Moving Forward

In light of these revelations, combating TB demands a multifaceted approach of enhanced surveillance, innovative diagnostic approaches, and public health interventions. By better understanding TB transmission dynamics, we can hopefully contain its impact and strive to eventually beat it once and for all.

Heightened awareness campaigns can empower individuals to recognize the symptoms of TB and seek timely medical assistance, as well as warn them of how to be better equipped if anyone they know has TB.  Preventive measures, like proper ventilation and infection control practices, can help mitigate the risk of TB transmission in high-prevalence settings.

TB’s status as a global health crisis necessitates international collaboration. Through partnership, we can leverage collective expertise and resources to tackle the multifaceted challenges TB poses. Prioritizing funding for TB research, healthcare infrastructure, and capacity-building initiatives is essential to address this disease and make it the former “world’s deadliest disease” title holder. 

Read More: Kuru: The World’s deadliest disease with a near 100% fatality rate


  1. Planet’s deadliest disease ‘easier to catch than first thought’ warn scientists.Irish Star. John O’sullivan and Adam Aiken. March 13, 2024.
  2. STEALTH KILLER ‘World’s most deadly infection’ can be transmitted simply by breathing, scientists warn – as cases rise.” The Sun. Isabel Shaw. March 12, 2024.
  3. Tuberculosis – NIH