One of the most important events for people working toward tuberculosis (TB) elimination is World TB Day. World TB Day is observed annually on March 24 to commemorate Dr. Robert Koch’s announcement of his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes TB. On March 24, and the days leading up to it, CDC and many others share successes in TB prevention and control, and raise awareness of the challenges that hinder our progress toward the elimination of this devastating disease. The U.S. theme for World TB Day 2018 is “Wanted: Leaders for a TB Free United States. We can make history. End TB.” The Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) World TB Day activities highlight our achievements, present efforts, and future aspirations.
A total of 9,093 TB cases were reported in the United States in 2017 according to preliminary datafrom the CDC National TB Surveillance System. This is the lowest case count on record and corresponds with a TB rate of 2.8 per 100,000 persons, a rate 2.5% lower than reported in 2016. This decrease is consistent with the modest decline seen over the past several years; however, our current strategies will not be sufficient to reach the goal of TB elimination in the United States. Eliminating TB in the United States will require a sustained effort to control TB disease, and expanding testing and treatment of latent TB infection to prevent the development of TB disease.
Achieving TB elimination will also require the continued hard work and dedication from those working on the state and local levels. One of the goals of this year’s World TB Day campaign is to highlight this great work through the 2018 CDC U.S TB Elimination Champions project. In keeping with this year’s theme, we are highlighting organizations and individuals who are leading the effort to collaborate with public health partners, health care providers, and community organizations. We encourage you to read and share their stories with your partners and colleagues. Additional CDC World TB Day resources are available in English and Spanish, including up-to-date information on TB, promotional materials, and other tools you can use as part of your World TB Day events and activities.
I hope all of you will have a chance to plan or take part in your own World TB Day activities. Thank you for your work and commitment to eliminate TB in the United States.
Philip LoBue, MD, FACP, FCCP
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention