CDC To Play Key Role in National Multidrug-Resistant TB Plan

Tuberculosis (TB) kills almost 30,000 people each week

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Today, the White House released the “National Action Plan to Combat Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB)”. This plan is a crucial step to address MDR TB, a growing public health threat that reflects missed opportunities to find, cure, and prevent TB.

Despite being preventable and curable, TB ranks alongside HIV as the world’s leading cause of death from infectious disease. In 2014, nearly 10 million people became ill with TB, resulting in 1.5 million deaths. While the majority of MDR TB cases are outside the U.S., TB respects no national borders – TB anywhere is TB everywhere.

MDR TB is a strain of TB resistant to at least two of the first-line drugs used to treat TB, and is now is found in every country in the world. Even in countries with a low TB burden, like the United States, MDR-TB cases strain the public health system. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there were nearly 500,000 MDR TB cases globally in 2014. Compared to TB that is not drug resistant, MDR TB takes a greater human and economic toll – it requires much longer treatment times with costlier drugs, can cause serious and permanent side effects, and significantly increases the risk of death. If left unchecked, 75 million additional people could die from MDR TB by 2050, costing the global economy $17 trillion in lost productivity.

As a key implementer of the National Action Plan, CDC supports TB programs throughout the United States and around the world to find, treat, cure, and prevent TB. The National Action Plan will help us stay ahead of TB drug resistance with innovations in surveillance, outbreak detection, therapy for hard-to-treat cases, and a system to help address drug shortages.

To assist in your coverage of this important announcement, CDC offers the following:

Following is a quote for attribution byCDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.:

“The White House’s National Action Plan is a critical step to combat multidrug-resistant TB. CDC sends our doctors, nurses and scientists to the front lines to find, cure and prevent TB before it develops resistance to last-line antibiotics – so we can eliminate deaths from this curable disease.”

Media Resources:

Fact Sheet: The impact of MDR TB around the world and CDC’s work with partners to fight this epidemic around the world – Access downloadable fact sheet here.

Subject Matter Experts 

  • Shannon Hader, M.D., Director, CDC Division of Global and TB
    • Dr. Hader leads the Division’s efforts to combat HIV and TB globally; previously, she oversaw the District of Columbia’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration.
  • Peter Cegielski, M.D., M.P.H., Team Lead for Drug-resistant TB, CDC Division of Global HIV and TB
    • Dr. Cegielski was the first person to recognize the global emergence of extensively drug-resistant TB and coined the term XDR TB.
  • Philip LoBue, MD., Director, CDC Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
    • Dr. LoBue leads the Division’s efforts to combat TB in the United States.

Personal Perspectives on TB

  • Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – in addition to the science, Dr. Frieden can also speak about his personal experience with the disease. In this video, he discusses how he developed latent TB infection and introduces the poignant stories of health workers who contracted TB while caring for others.
  • Dalene von Delft, a young South African doctor, developed MDR TB while treating patients. After years of toxic treatments, facing the prospect of deafness and even death, she was finally cured of her TB. Now, as a full time ER doctor, she and her husband have dedicated their lives to advocating on behalf of TB sufferers around the world.
    • In this video, Dr. von Delft and her husband recount her 2-year battle with MDR TB
  • Diana Forno, M.D., a physician and surgeon in CDC-Guatemala is fighting MDR TB by training doctors and nurses on the basic TB infection control practices that stop resistance from developing in the first place
    • Dr. Forno has spent decades working on the front lines with Ministries of Health and partners to control TB in some of the hardest-hit countries in Central America.

If you are interested in arranging an interview or would like additional information, please contact CDC Media Relations by phone (404) 639-3286 or email


Page last reviewed: December 22, 2015