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GLOBAL EXPLOSION OF TUBERCULOSIS HAS BEEN TRIGGERED

AIDS is triggering a global explosion of tuberculosis, especially in Africa, and at least 2 million people are already infected with the microbes that cause both diseases, a health official warned on Saturday.

Tuberculosis is already the world's single biggest bacterial killer, and experts fear that HIV, the AIDS virus, is likely to make the problem much worse."A serious epidemic of TB is occurring as a result of the HIV epidemic, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa," said Dr. Peter Eriki of the World Health Organization.

Now, an estimated 1.7 billion people - one-third of the world's population - is infected with tuberculosis bacilli. Most of these people suffer no outward symptoms.

HIV weakens the body's natural defenses against disease. This can awaken dormant TB infections that had been held in check.