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World TB Day --- March 24, 2005

World TB Day is March 24, 2005. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the tuberculosis (TB) bacillus. TB remains one of the leading causes of death from infectious disease worldwide. 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 9 million persons become ill from TB; of these, 2 million die. World TB Day provides an opportunity for TB programs, nongovernmental organizations, and other partners to describe TB-related problems and possible solutions and to support global TB-control efforts.

During 1985--1992, after years of decline, the number of TB cases reported in the United States increased 20%. A renewed emphasis on TB control and prevention during the 1990s reversed this trend. Provisional data indicate that the rate of TB in 2004 was the lowest recorded in the United States since reporting began in 1953. However, the rate of decline has slowed in the past 2 years, and disparities persist for certain racial, ethnic, and foreign-born populations.

CDC and its partners are committed to eliminating TB in the United States. Educational programs convened by local TB coalitions will be held in many states on World TB Day. These programs will feature presentations from TB experts and from leaders of communities at highest risk for the disease. For example, the Metropolitan Chicago Tuberculosis Coalition World TB Day observance will have the theme, "TB: Educate to Eliminate." Progress in international collaborative efforts to combat TB will be acknowledged at numerous events, including a meeting of the United States--Mexico Binational Health Card Project, a comprehensive TB-referral and case-management system for the United States and Mexico. Additional information about World TB Day and CDC TB-elimination activities is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/tb/worldtbday/2005/default.htm.

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