The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced (7 March 2017) that the focus on this year’s World TB Day celebrations will be on uniting efforts to “Leave no one behind”.
This year will see the culmination of the two year WHO campaign to “Unite to End TB”, that started on World TB Day 2016.
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-third 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 10% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB. However, persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
In 2015, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and 1.8 million died from the disease (including 0.4 million among people with HIV).
Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Six countries account for 60% of the total, with India leading the count, followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.
In 2015, an estimated 1 million children became ill with TB and 170 000 children died of TB (excluding children with HIV).
TB is a leading killer of HIV-positive people: in 2015, 35% of HIV deaths were due to TB.
Globally in 2015, an estimated 480 000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
TB incidence has fallen by an average of 1.5% per year since 2000. This needs to accelerate to a 4–5% annual decline to reach the 2020 milestones of the “End TB Strategy”.
An estimated 49 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2015.
Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
World TB Day is celebrated on 24 March each year.
This year, the focus will be on actions to address stigma, discrimination, marginalization, and overcome barriers to access care.
Link to the World TB Day Campaign page:
Link to WHO’s fact sheet on TB (updated October 2016):
Link to fact sheet on Global TB Report 2016 (English) [PDF]: