By Tam Van, Manager, HIV, Hepatitis, STD and TB Programs, APHL
March 24. The day the NASA spacecraft Ranger 9 brings images of the moon into ordinary homes before crash landing in 1965. The day Harry Houdini was born in 1874. Also the day when Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), 130 years ago in 1882. March 24, 2012 World TB Day is commemorated worldwide to bring awareness to this deadly disease.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported approximately 11,000 TB cases in the United States, (CDC Reported Tuberculosis in the United States, 2010). The good news? This is continuing the trend of declines in the number of TB cases in the US since 1993. The bad news? There were still a reported 11,000 TB cases in the US in 2010. This is not to mention the estimated two billion people in the world infected with M. tuberculosis and the nearly 1.5 million deaths attributed to TB each year worldwide.
Although we have come a long way since Dr. Koch’s discovery, there is still much work to be done. The emergence of totally drug-resistant TB and the effect that increasing globalization has on the spread of M. tuberculosis that are resistant to multiple treatment drugs are a few concerns. Therefore, in order to reach the goal of a world free of TB we must all work together to detect, prevent and treat this disease. This year, help in the fight to Stop TB in My Lifetime by educating yourself and help bring more awareness to TB, the problems, the solutions and the control efforts.
For more information and to find out if your state has activities planned to commemorate World TB Day, please visit CDC’s World TB Day 2012 or STOP TB USA. And see our website for more information on APHL’s TB program.
To all those who battle in the war to prevent and control TB every day, we thank you wholeheartedly, especially, on this day.