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World TB Day --- March 24, 2009

World TB Day is observed each year on March 24 to commemorate the date in 1882 when Dr. 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 are infected with M. tuberculosis (1). In 2006, approximately 9.2 million persons became ill from TB, and 1.7 million died from the disease (1). 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 (from 84,304 in 1953 to 22,201 in 1985), the number of TB cases reported in the United States increased 20% (to 26,673) during 1985--1992 (2). This led to a renewed emphasis on TB control and prevention during the 1990s. However, 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 persons of racial/ethnic minority populations and foreign-born persons continue to account for a greater percentage of TB cases. Additional information about World TB Day and CDC TB-elimination activities is available at


  1. World Health Organization. Global tuberculosis control: surveillance, planning, financing. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2008. Available at
  2. CDC. Reported tuberculosis in the United States, 2007. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2008. Available at

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Date last reviewed: 3/19/2009


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