Each year, we recognize World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. World TB Day marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB). This discover opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Each day, nearly 4500 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 54 million lives since the year 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42%. To accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets – Heads of State came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High Level Meeting in September 2018.”
Up to 13 million people in the United States have latent TB infection, and without treatment, they are at risk for developing TB disease in the future. We must continue to find and treat cases of active TB disease and also test and treat latent TB infection to prevent progression to disease.
Treatment of latent TB infection is essential to controlling and eliminating TB in the United States. According to the CDC, “Our public health system and private providers play a crucial role in this effort”.
World TB Day is a day to educate the public about the impact of TB around the world. The CDC, along with their partners and colleagues around the world share successes in TB prevention and control, and raise awareness of the challenges that hinder progress toward the elimination of this devastating disease.
The theme of World TB Day 2019 is “It’s TIME”. The CDC and its domestic and international partners, including the National TB Controllers Association, Stop TB USA and the global Stop TB Partnership are working together to eliminate this deadly disease.
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