World Tuberculosis Day

World TB Day is observed annually on March 24

World TB Day is observed annually on March 24 to raise awareness about TB and efforts to end the global epidemic, marking 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.  The theme for 2023 is ‘Yes! We can end TB!’

At the time of Dr 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 toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a communicable disease that is a major cause of ill health and one of the leading causes of death worldwide.  TB is caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread when people who are sick with TB expel bacteria into the air (e.g. by coughing).

According to the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2022:

  • Until the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, TB was the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS.
  • About a quarter of the global population is estimated to have been infected with TB.
  • 6 million people fell ill with TB in 2021.
  • 6 million people died of TB in 2021.
  • 450,000 new cases of drug (rifampicin)resistant TB were reported in 2021.
  • 74 million lives were saved since 2000 by global efforts to end TB.

Learn more about TB, download the CDC patient information leaflet, ‘Get the facts about TB’ here.  Remember, ‘Yes! We can end TB!’