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World TB Day --- March 24, 2007

World TB Day is observed on March 24 each year and commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Worldwide, TB remains one of the leading causes of death from infectious disease. An estimated 2 billion persons (i.e., one third of the world's population) are infected with M. tuberculosis. Each year, approximately 9 million persons become ill from TB; of these, nearly 2 million die from the disease. World TB Day provides an opportunity for TB programs, nongovernmental organizations, and other partners to describe problems and solutions related to the TB pandemic and to support worldwide TB-control activities. The theme for this year's observance is "TB Elimination: Now is the Time!"

After approximately 30 years of decline, the number of TB cases reported in the United States increased 20% during 1985--1992. This led to a renewed emphasis on TB control and prevention during the 1990s. However, although the 2006 TB rate is the lowest recorded in the United States since national reporting began in 1953, the average annual decline has slowed since 2000. In addition, multidrug-resistant TB remains a threat, extensively drug-resistant TB has become an emerging threat, and persons of racial/ethnic minority populations and foreign-born persons continue to account for a disproportionate number of TB cases.

CDC and its partners are committed to eliminating TB in the United States. In many states, education and awareness programs convened by local TB coalitions will take place in commemoration of World TB Day. Additional information about World TB Day and CDC TB-elimination activities is available at

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Date last reviewed: 3/22/2007


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