Today is World Tuberculosis Day.
World TB Day is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries.
World TB Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along withWorld Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day and World AIDS Day
It 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.
At the time of Koch’s announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people.
Koch’s discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.
The World Health Organisation estimates that every year TB newly infects 8.6 million people and claims 1.3 million lives globally.
TB disproportionately affects the poor as things like crowded living conditions, poor ventilation and under-nutrition all make an individual more likely to develop TB.
The theme of this year’s World TB Day is: “Unite to End TB”