World Tuberculosis Day, observed on 24 March each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.
The theme for World TB day 2020 is “It’s time to End TB!”
24 March commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing to a small group of scientists at the University of Berlin’s Institute of Hygiene that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. According to Koch’s colleague, Paul Ehrlich, “At this memorable session, Koch appeared before the public with an announcement which marked a turning-point in the story of a virulent human infectious disease. In clear, simple words Koch explained the aetiology of tuberculosis with convincing force, presenting many of his microscope slides and other pieces of evidence.” 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 toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.
In 1982, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Robert Koch’s presentation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that 24 March be proclaimed an official World TB Day. This was part of a year-long centennial effort by the IUATLD and the World Health Organization under the theme “Defeat TB: Now and Forever.”
The following is a list of annual themes:
- 1997: Use DOTS more widely
- 1998: DOTS success stories
- 1999: Stop TB, use DOTS
- 2000: Forging new partnerships to Stop TB
- 2001: DOTS: TB cure for all
- 2002: Stop TB, fight poverty
- 2003: DOTS cured me – it will cure you too!
- 2004: Every breath counts – Stop TB now!
- 2005: Frontline TB care providers: Heroes in the fight against TB
- 2006: Actions for life – Towards a world free of TB
- 2007: TB anywhere is TB everywhere
- 2008–2009: I am stopping TB
- 2010: Innovate to accelerate action
- 2011: Transforming the fight towards elimination
- 2012: Call for a world free of TB
- 2013: Stop TB in my lifetime
- 2014: Reach the three million: A TB test, treatment and cure for all
- 2015: Gear up to end TB
- 2016: Unite to End TB
- 2017: Unite to End TB
- 2018: Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world
- 2019: It’s time
- 2020: It’s time to end 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.
- A total of 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018 (including 251 000 people with HIV). Worldwide, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent (above HIV/AIDS).
- In 2018, an estimated 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis(TB) worldwide. 5.7 million men, 3.2 million women and 1.1 million children. There were cases in all countries and age groups. But TB is curable and preventable.
- In 2018, 1.1 million children fell ill with TB globally, and there were 205 000 child deaths due to TB (including among children with HIV). Child and adolescent TB is often overlooked by health providers and can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
- In 2018, the 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 87% of new TB cases. Eight countries account for two thirds of the total, with India leading the count, followed by, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.
- Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. WHO estimates that there were 484 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug, of which 78% had MDR-TB.
- Globally, TB incidence is falling at about 2% per year. This needs to accelerate to a 4–5% annual decline to reach the 2020 milestones of the End TB Strategy.
- An estimated 58 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2018.
- Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to World Health Organisation:
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.
TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
About one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease.
People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–15% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB. Persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a higher risk of falling ill.
When a person develops active TB disease, the symptoms (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) may be mild for many months. This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others. People with active TB can infect 5–15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment, 45% of HIV-negative people with TB on average and nearly all HIV-positive people with TB will die.