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World Tuberculosis Day 2021 - The Clock is Ticking

Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

About TB

TB is one of the leading infectious killers worldwide. Every day, close to 4,000 people die from TB and nearly 30,000 people fall ill with this disease. It is caused by the bacillus Mycobacteria tuberculosis which is spread when people sick with TB expel bacteria into the air; for example, by coughing. TB typically affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.

About a quarter of the world's population is infected with M. tuberculosis and thus at risk of developing TB disease. Drug-resistant forms of TB are a major contributor to deaths from antimicrobial resistance globally. In 2019, about 0.5 million people fell it with drug-resistant TB. Although 63 million lives have been saved since 2000, the pace of progress is slow, and actions and investments fall far short of those needed to end the TB epidemic.

World TB Day 2021

The theme of World TB Day 2021 - 'The Clock is Ticking' - conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO's drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

On World TB Day, WHO is calling for action on several fronts to ensure that the commitments made to end TB are achieved. Visit the WHO website to find out more about these and to find out how you can get involved on World TB Day 2021.