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World TB Day --- March 24, 2006

World TB Day is March 24. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Robert Koch announced his 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, and approximately 2 million die as a result. World TB Day provides an opportunity for TB programs, nongovernmental organizations, and other partners to describe TB-related problems and solutions and to support TB control worldwide.

During 1985--1992, after more than 30 years of decline, the number of TB cases reported in the United States increased by 20%. This resurgence generated a renewed emphasis on TB control and prevention during the 1990s, which reversed the trend. Although the 2005 TB rate was the lowest recorded in the United States since national reporting began in 1953, the average annual decline has slowed during the past 3 years, multidrug-resistant TB remains a threat, and disparate rates of TB persist among certain racial, ethnic, and foreign-born populations.

Many states are offering educational programs organized by local TB coalitions in recognition of World TB Day. For example, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Tuberculosis Program is hosting an observance recognizing the activities of a coalition working to reduce disparities in TB among blacks in the Atlanta area. Additional information about World TB Day and CDC TB-elimination activities is available at

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Date last reviewed: 3/23/2006


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