World Tuberculosis (TB) Day

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It’s Time to End TB.

World TB is observed every year on March 24. Learn how CDC is working for a TB-free world.

World TB Day commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB. This year’s World TB Day theme “It’s Time to End TB” highlights the importance of a renewed commitment to TB and the need to expand testing and treatment of latent TB infection.

Despite being preventable and curable, TB is the world’s leading infectious disease killer. Two billion people – one fourth of the world’s population – are infected with latent TB, with more than 10 million becoming ill with active TB disease each year, including 1,100,000 children, and over 500,000 persons with drug-resistant TB.

TB affects millions around the world and here in the United States; in every state; in rural areas and cities; in schools, workplaces, homes; and in many other places where people are in close contact. Drug-resistance continues to threaten our ability to treat and manage TB disease. Better diagnostics, shorter treatment regimens, and strong partnerships both domestic and global, are needed to accelerate progress toward elimination. Learn what CDC is doing in the United States and around the world to eliminate this devastating disease.

CDC is Working to Expand Testing and Treatment of Latent TB Infection in the United States

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The United States has made great progress towards the goal of TB elimination. In 2019, a provisional total of 8,920 cases of TB disease were reported in the United States – the lowest number on record. The decline in TB case counts in the United States are a credit to the work of state and local TB control programs in finding and treating people with TB disease to stop the cycle of transmission. However, too many people still suffer from TB in the United States. To reach our domestic TB elimination goal, we must prevent TB disease by expanding testing and treatment of latent TB infection.

Up to 13 million people in the United States have latent TB infection. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have symptoms, and cannot spread TB bacteria to others.

Without treatment, they are at risk for developing TB disease at some point in their lives. CDC recommends that people at risk for latent TB infection should be tested and treated to prevent the development of TB disease.  CDC and the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association published new guidelines that recommend shorter, 3 or 4 month, latent TB infection treatments.

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Short-course latent TB infection treatments are effective, safe, and have higher completion rates than longer treatments. CDC is working with partners to help make latent TB infection testing and treatment a routine, integral part of primary care for patients at risk.


CDC, in partnership with state and local TB control programs, clinicians, and researchers across the United States, is working to make TB elimination a reality.  Both public and private health care systems will play a crucial role in ending TB in the United States.  CDC supports these efforts by conducting TB surveillance, providing funding and technical assistance to state and local TB control programs, and by supporting professional development through the TB Centers of Excellence for Training, Education, and Medical Consultation.

CDC is Working to Transform the Fight to End TB Around the Globe

The global community has made substantial progress and investments in support of global initiatives to end TB.  Between 2000 and 2018, more than 58 million lives were saved through global TB efforts.

Today, we stand at a critical juncture in the fight to end TB worldwide. It has been almost two years since the historic United Nations High Level Meeting on TBexternal icon, when Member States committed to meeting the following targets by 2022: treating 40 million people, including 3.5 million children with TB and 1.5 million people with drug-resistant TB; and providing TB preventive treatment (TPT) to 30 million people.external icon

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At CDC, we are helping to achieve these targets and ending the global TB epidemicpdf icon by 2030 by bringing to bear a unique combination of scientific leadership, peer-to-peer relationships with ministries of health, technical know-how and a solid track record in building sustainable TB and HIV programspdf icon, and expertise in the strategic use of data to increase impactpdf icon. We are on the frontlines helping countries to find, cure, and prevent TB and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TBpdf icon), including among people living with HIV (PLHIV), children and others who are  vulnerable to TB. CDC is on the ground, helping countries implement and scale-up TPT for those most at risk for developing TB disease. In 2017, fewer than one million people living with HIV were receiving TPT globally. As part of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC has been instrumental in starting 1,135,330 people on TPT in 2019 alone.  CDC is partnering with governments and other stakeholders around the world to strengthen health care and disease surveillance and laboratory systemspdf icon to accelerate and sustain global TB efforts.

Through cooperative agreements and partnerships with the World Health Organization (WHO), STOP TB Partnership, the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union), and the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF)—CDC is lending its technical expertise to the development of normative guidance to improve TB prevention, detection, and treatment, fostering the development of a Child and Adolescent TB Centre of Excellence (COE) for children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, and catalyzing the rapid roll-out of emerging technologies in areas with high TB burden.  With only two years left to reach the UN targets and 10 years to reach the global goals to end TB by 2030, now is the time to act.

Given the urgency to end TB in our lifetime, it is fitting that the theme for this year’s World TB Day 2020 is “It’s Time.” Until TB is eliminated, World TB Day will not be a celebration. However, it is a valuable opportunity to educate the public about the devastation of TB disease and how we can work together to prevent it.

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It’s Time to End TB in the United States and Around the World.