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World TB Day --- March 24, 2004

World TB Day is March 24, 2004. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the tuberculosis (TB) bacillus. Worldwide, TB remains a leading cause of death from infectious disease. An estimated 2 billion persons (i.e., one third of the world's population) are infected with the bacteria that cause TB. Each year, approximately 8 million persons become ill from TB; of these, 2 million die. World TB Day provides an opportunity for TB programs, nongovernment organizations, and other partners to describe TB-related problems and solutions and to support TB-control efforts.

During 1985--1992, after years of decline, the number of TB cases reported in the United States increased 20%. This resurgence was associated with 1) deterioration of the infrastructure for TB services; 2) immigration of persons from TB-endemic countries; and 3) a combination of the human immunodeficiency virus epidemic, TB transmission in congregate settings (e.g., prisons), and outbreaks of multidrug-resistant TB.

Renewed emphasis on TB control and prevention has produced substantial gains in the United States. However, provisional data indicate that 2003 marked the smallest annual decline in new TB cases since 1992. These data raise concerns that increased efforts might be required to maintain the progress made in controlling TB.

CDC is committed to eliminating TB in the United States. Achieving this goal demands targeted interventions for populations at high risk, active involvement in the global fight against TB, and strong local programs. Additional information about World TB Day and CDC's TB-elimination activities is available at


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