World Tuberculosis Day, falling on March 24 each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease. Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne disease. It is preventable and curable. March 24 commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. Theme for 2012 & 2013: Stop TB in my lifetime Call for a world free of TB. In 2013 we enter the second year of the two-year Stop TB in my lifetime World TB Day campaign.
- Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.
- In 2011, 8.7 million people fell ill with TB and 1.4 million died from TB.
- Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries, and it is among the top three causes of death for women aged 15 to 44.
- In 2010, there were about 10 million orphan children as a result of TB deaths among parents.
- TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV causing one quarter of all deaths.
- Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is present in virtually all countries surveyed.
- The estimated number of people falling ill with tuberculosis each year is declining, although very slowly, which means that the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to reverse the spread of TB by 2015.
- The TB death rate dropped 41% between 1990 and 2011.