1 to 31 March
Tuberculosis (TB) causes thousands of deaths every year in South Africa and the rest of the world.
Facts about TB
- Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.
- In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died from TB.
- Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top three causes of death for women aged 15 to 44.
- In 2012, an estimated 530 000 children became ill with TB and 74 000 HIV-negative children died of TB.
- TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV causing one fifth of all deaths.
- Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is present in virtually all countries surveyed.
- The estimated number of people falling ill with tuberculosis each year is declining, although very slowly, which means that the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to reverse the spread of TB by 2015.
- The TB death rate dropped 45% between 1990 and 2012.
- An estimated 22 million lives saved through use of DOTS and the Stop TB Strategy recommended by WHO.
TB Day on 24 March 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 toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.