World TB Day 2017
March 24, 2017
World Tuberculosis (TB) Day offers an opportunity to highlight how far we have come in addressing TB at home and around the world. The hard work by CDC and its global partners has resulted in progress against this epidemic and brought the world closer toward the global goal of eliminating TB by 2035. In just the last 15 years, for example, the number of deaths from TB has fallen 47 percent, an achievement that translates to 49 million lives being saved worldwide.
But this day also demands sober reflection on what remains to be done to stop people from dying from TB and why, more than ever, we must “Unite to End TBExternal.” Two billion people – one fourth of the world’s population – are infected with TB, with more than 10 million becoming ill with the disease each year. TB is now the number one infectious disease killerCdc-pdf worldwide – the same as it was in the 19th century before anti-TB drugs were available to combat the disease. The real tragedy of this leading killer, however, is that TB is preventable as well as curable with early detection and effective treatment.
The world is also facing the growing threat of drug-resistant TB – new forms of the disease that are resistant to our best anti-TB drugs. Multi-drug resistant TBCdc-pdf (MDR TB), and the even more deadly extensively drug-resistant TB, are costly to treat, difficult to cure, and often lead to death. Add to this the fact that drug-resistant TB has spread to every country in the world. We at CDC continue to be committed to confronting this challenge.
Along with our global partners, CDC experts focus on a distinct set of issues as part of the effort to alleviate the toll that TB takes.
- Find, cure, and prevent TB and protect Americans both here and abroad by working in 25 countries – CDC and its partners are expanding access to better screening, contact tracing, and diagnostic toolsCdc-pdf to find missing cases. We are evaluating better treatment regimens and expanding access to care and treatment. We are breaking the cycle of transmission by strengthening infection controlCdc-pdf, identifying TB hotspots to target screening effortsCdc-pdf, and scaling-up treatment to prevent TB among vulnerable populations.
- Find and combat MDR TB – CDC is on the frontlines in some of the world’s highest burden regions, working to understand what’s driving the spread of drug-resistant TB and how to stop it.
- Break the cycle of TB transmission by preventing infections, while supporting global programs to quickly detect and effectively treat all people with TB – CDC is working to strengthen the efforts to protect people at a high risk of developing TB, such as children, pregnant women, miners, health care workers, and people living with HIV.
- Access to effective prevention and treatment for those living with or at risk for HIV and TB co-infection – TB is the leading killer of people with HIV globally. CDC is working hand-in-hand with government partners, community groups, and health organizations to align TB and HIV programs. These efforts include helping those living with HIV to start and stay on HIV treatment, and increasing access to TB preventive therapy by including it as part of standard services already being provided to people living with HIV.
The human and economic costs of inaction are too high for us to falter in our efforts to address TB and drug-resistant TB. According to a recent analysis, if substantive progress isn’t made in detecting and treating drug-resistant TB, there will be 75 million additional deaths by 2050 at a cost to the global economy of $17 trillion.
CDC experts remain committed to using rigorous science and quality disease surveillance techniques to find, cure, and prevent TB around the world. To end TB, we must continue to work together to fight this epidemic on multiple fronts, and to stop the suffering associated with this disease, here at home and around the world.
We invite you to partner with us in this life-saving work. Please find additional resources (e.g., fact sheetsCdc-pdf, infographicsCdc-pdf, and social media cards) that highlight the ways CDC is working to find, cure, and prevent TB worldwide.
Rebecca Martin, PhD
Director, Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Shannon Hader, MD, MPH
Director, Division of Global HIV & TB
Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention