Lung Association Marks World TB Day

(March 23, 2010)

The American Lung Association marks World Tuberculosis Day, March 24, by urging Congress to continue our efforts in global leadership in eradicating this infectious disease.  Each year, more than 9 million people become ill with TB, and almost 2 million people die.  TB is predicted to kill millions more in the next decade.  

TB is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.  TB is spread through the air from one person to another.

"The American Lung Association was formed in 1904 by a group of doctors and concerned citizens to eradicate tuberculosis," said Mary Partridge, Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Lung Association.  "As the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, we played a critical role in developing and funding increasingly effective weapons to prevent, detect and treat TB, once the leading cause of death in the United States.  By 1954, tuberculosis was largely controlled in the U.S."

Despite popular misconceptions that TB is a disease of the past, tuberculosis continues to pose a threat to public health. In 2008, there were 12,904 new cases of TB in the United States.

The American Lung Association is urging Congress to put the U.S. back on the path towards TB elimination by providing $220 million for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's TB program, which provides targeted support to federal, state, and local health authorities to detect, treat, and prevent TB, including drug-resistant TB, in the foreign-born population, among U.S. minorities, and along the U.S.-Mexico border.

For more information and to take action, click here.