World Tuberculosis Day
World Tuberculosis Day, observed on March 24 each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.
Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the disease. WHO estimates that the largest number of new TB cases in 2005 occurred in south-east Asia, which accounted for 34 percent of incident cases globally. However, the estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly twice that of south-east Asia.
It causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. It commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. At the time of Koch’s announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch’s discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.
World TB Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day and World AIDS Day.
World TB Day provides the opportunity to raise awareness about TB-related problems and solutions and to support worldwide TB-control efforts. While great strides have been made to control and cure TB, people still get sick and die from this disease in our country. Much more needs to be done to eliminate this disease.
In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.3 million died from the disease, mostly in the Third World.
The global campaign for World Tuberculosis Day has had different themes and slogans over the years. For example, the 2010–2011 campaign’s theme was “Innovation” and the slogan was “On the move against tuberculosis. Innovate to accelerate action”.
This year’s World TB Day theme encourages local and state TB programs to reach out to their communities to raise awareness about TB. We don’t have to fight TB alone; we should partner with others who are also caring for those most at risk for TB such as people with HIV infection or diabetes, and the homeless. Everyone has a role in ensuring that one day TB will be eliminated. CDC and our partners are committed to a world free of TB.