World TB Day
History of World TB Day
On March 24, 1882, Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB). During this time, TB killed one out of every seven people living in the United States and Europe. Dr. Koch’s discovery was the most important step taken toward the control and elimination of this deadly disease.
In 1982, a century after Dr. Koch's announcement, the first World TB Day was sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). The event was intended to educate the public about the devastating health and economic consequences of TB, its effect on developing countries, and its continued tragic impact on global health.
Today, World TB Day is commemorated across the globe with activities as diverse as the locations in which they are held. But more can be done to raise awareness about the effects of TB. Among infectious diseases, TB remains the second leading killer of adults in the world, with 1.5 million TB-related deaths in 2010.
Until TB is controlled, World TB Day won’t be a celebration. But it is a valuable opportunity to educate the public about the devastation TB can spread and how it can be stopped.