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World TB Day --- March 24, 2008

World TB Day is observed each year on March 24 to commemorate the date in 1882 when 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. In 2005, approximately 8.8 million persons became ill from TB, and 1.6 million died 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 efforts. The U.S. theme for this year's observance is Partnerships for TB Elimination.

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 and actions that reversed the increase in cases. Although the 2007 TB rate (4.4 cases per 100,000 population) was 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 racial/ethnic minorities 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 be conducted 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: 3/19/2008

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