World TB Day 2016: Unite to End TB
World TB Day is a time to reflect on the progress that has been made toward TB elimination, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.
Although important strides in TB prevention and control continue in the United States, the TB rate remained at 3.0 cases per 100,000 persons during 2013-2015. The reasons for this leveling in TB rates are not yet known. Further evaluation of available data is required to understand the causes of this trend. However, to get back to the path of declining TB rates, more intensive efforts are needed. These efforts will not only focus on strengthening existing systems for interrupting TB transmission, but also increasing efforts to detect and treat latent TB infection. For more information on 2015 provisional TB surveillance data, please visit Leveling of Tuberculosis Incidence — United States, 2013–2015.
TB elimination can't be reached without the hard work and dedication of people on the front line. CDC is highlighting the important work that is being done to end TB in communities through an exciting new initiative. The CDC U.S. TB Elimination Champions provides an opportunity to recognize accomplishments and learn best practices from organizations and individuals who are making a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in TB elimination. One of the organizations that is being recognized as a U.S. TB Elimination Champion is We Are TB. The story behind this organization reveals how misdiagnosis of TB can occur when health care professionals do not "think TB." There is a strong need for TB education and outreach to clinicians, health care agencies, and community organizations, and We Are TB is helping to fill this need by raising awareness about the disease.
A personal experience with TB motivated Carrie Fritschy to form the organization, We Are TB. In November 2012, Carrie's 1 ½ year old daughter, Scarlett, began to show symptoms of TB; however, Scarlett's pediatricians did not immediately think TB when treating the young patient. For months, Scarlett endured months of sleepless nights where her fever would spike as high as 104°.
Carrie and her husband spent hours upon hours in the pediatrician's office where they would be told that it was an ear infection during one visit, a sinus infection during the next, or just a cold upon future visits. But with each round of antibiotics, the fever would keep coming back.
Learn more about Carrie's story and when doctors finally diagnosed her daughter with TB.
We Are TB
Realizing that there was not an organized group of TB survivors in the United States, Carrie helped form We Are TB as a way for survivors to stay connected and engaged in advocacy work to educate others on TB prevention and control. We Are TB creates a team of survivors who serve as TB Ambassadors. The organization works with public health teams to educate the American public on TB prevention and control.
Learn how We Are TB and other CDC U.S. TB Elimination Champions are making strides toward TB prevention and control in their communities.
World TB Day
Each year, World TB Day is observed on March 24 to create awareness and to support world-wide efforts to eliminate this disease. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes TB. This year's 2016 World TB Day theme is Unite to End TB.