STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Tuberculosis has become the world's No. 1 killer of young women, contrary to the developed world's perception of it as a disease hitting mainly elderly men, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
More than 900 million women worldwide are infected, experts said at a medical seminar in Sweden's southwestern city Gothenburg. About 2.5 million will get sick this year and 1 million will die. Most of those will be between the ages of 15 and 44.
Within that age group, TB accounts for about 9 percent of women's deaths worldwide. That compares to 4 percent for deaths by war, and 3 percent each due to HIV and heart disease.
"Wives, mothers and wage-earners are being cut down in their prime and the world isn't noticing," said Dr. Paul Dolin of the WHO's Global Tuberculosis Program.
The disease is most widespread in Asia and sub-Sarahan Africa.
In economically developed countries, one of every four TB cases is found in people, mostly men, over age 65.