World TB Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the burden of tuberculosis (TB) worldwide and the status of TB prevention and control efforts. Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.
TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
About one-third of the world's population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with disease and cannot transmit the disease.
Who is most at risk?
Tuberculosis mostly affects young adults, in their most productive years. However, all age groups are at risk. Over 95% of cases and deaths are in developing countries.
People who are co-infected with HIV and TB are 21 to 34 times more likely to become sick with TB. Risk of active TB is also greater in persons suffering from other conditions that impair the immune system.
Tobacco use greatly increases the risk of TB disease and death. More than 20% of TB cases worldwide are attributable to smoking.
TB is a treatable and curable disease.
Active, drug-sensitive TB disease is treated with a standard six-month course of four antimicrobial drugs that are provided with information, supervision and support to the patient by a health worker or trained volunteer. Without such supervision and support, treatment adherence can be difficult and the disease can spread. The vast majority of TB cases can be cured when medicines are provided and taken properly.
Standard anti-TB drugs have been used for decades, and resistance to the anti-TB drug is growing. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to the two most powerful, first-line (or standard) anti-TB drugs.Disease caused by resistant bacteria fails to respond to conventional, first-line treatment. MDR-TB is treatable and curable by using second-line drugs.
The World Health Organization’s Stop TB Strategy
WHO recommended for implementation by all countries and partners, aims to dramatically reduce TB by public and private actions at national and local levels.
WHO suggests DOTS is a five-point package to:
secure political commitment, with adequate and sustained financing
ensure early case detection, and diagnosis through quality-assured bacteriology
provide standardized treatment with supervision and patient support
ensure effective drug supply and management and
monitor and evaluate performance and impact;
TB: Reach the 3 million
FIND Every year 3 million people with TB are missed. Failure to reach the missed has devastating human, health and economic consequences. TREAT A person with TB infects about 10 people in a year. Without treatment, half of the people with TB die. CURE With urgent action and increased investment, we can cure the missed 3 million and ensure we leave no one behind