World TB Day 2016

March 24, 2016

World TB Day is recognized annually on March 24th to raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB) and to unite worldwide TB-control efforts. This day commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the bacillus that causes TB. It is a day to reflect upon the progress that has been made toward eliminating TB in the United States, as well as the steps we must take to ultimately achieve it.

After 2 decades of progress toward TB elimination, TB rates in the United States remained approximately 3.0 cases per 100,000 persons during 2013–2015. In 2015, a total of 9,563 TB cases were reported according to preliminary data from the CDC National TB Surveillance System. This represents an increase of 157 cases from the 9,406 cases reported in 2014.

Current TB control strategies prioritize the early diagnosis, isolation, and treatment of those with infectious TB disease. This approach is essential to save lives and stop transmission, but is not sufficient to eliminate TB in the United States. We also must ensure persons with latent TB infection are diagnosed and treated before they can progress to TB disease. This year’s World TB Day theme is Unite to End TB. This theme encourages public health professionals in local and state TB programs to partner with others to expand efforts to diagnose and treat people who are most at risk for latent TB infection.

To eliminate TB in the United States, it will take continued hard work and dedication from those working on the state and local levels. One of the goals of this year’s CDC World TB Day campaign is to highlight this great work. The CDC U.S. TB Elimination Champions initiative spotlights organizations and people who are making significant contributions to TB elimination in their community. We encourage you to read and share their stories with your partners and colleagues. Additional CDC resources are available in English and Spanish, including up-to-date information on TB, promotional materials, and other tools you can use as part of your World TB Day events and activities.

Thank you for your work and commitment to eliminate TB.


/Jonathan Mermin/
Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., MPH
RADM and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

/Philip LoBue/
Philip LoBue, MD, FACP, FCCP
Director, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Page last reviewed: June 28, 2016