Commemorating World Tuberculosis Day 2015
(March 24, 2015)
The recent news that a number of students have tested positive for tuberculosis (TB) are a firm reminder that TB is it is far from gone, and is still a threat to public health, here and around the world.
On March 24, 1882, Dr. Robert Koch unveiled research that isolated Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the cause of tuberculosis. His discovery marked a milestone in the fight against this deadly disease, and now we celebrate World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 to commemorate the progress made around the world to eradicate TB.
TB is a contagious airborne infection. It is treated with antibiotics, and without treatment it can be fatal. Every year, TB is responsible for 1.5 million deaths globally, primarily in developing countries. The symptoms vary from weight loss to coughing, and the infection is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing.
For more than 100 years, the American Lung Association has pursued its vision of a world without TB, and within the first 50 years of our efforts, TB in the United States was no longer a widespread disease. Today, TB infection rates in the U.S. are the lowest recorded since national reporting began in 1953. However, the decline has slowed in recent years.
The Lung Association continues our work nationwide to promote lung health. We've funded millions of dollars in TB research over the past decade, and have advocated for TB prevention funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as across the globe. The Lung Association also supports public education activities to increase awareness and prevention of TB and to reduce the burden for patients with TB, their families and caregivers.
Founded in 1904, the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis was the first voluntary health organization in the United States dedicated to improving the health of Americans suffering from TB. In 1973, our organization was renamed the American Lung Association, as our mission expanded to other lung diseases including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and influenza, in addition to our fight against TB. Find out how you can join us in fighting for healthy lungs - for this generation and the next.
TAKE ACTION and urge Congress to fully fund the critical TB programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as at the U.S. Agency for International Development, so we can put TB behind us for good.