World Tuberculosis Day is an occasion to raise public awareness on a contagious disease that is treatable and preventable and yet has spread to epidemic proportions and continues to kill millions of people each year, especially in the developing world. The theme of World TB Day 2012 "Stopping TB in my lifetime" lends immediacy to the mission to halt TB and underlines the fact that everyone can make it his or her responsibility to eliminate the deadly disease from the face of the earth in the foreseeable future. The day offers an opportunity to focus on TB-related problems and solutions and to support worldwide efforts to control TB.
It was on March 24, now commemorated as World TB day that Dr. Robert Koch stunned the world in 1882 with his discovery of the TB bacillus, which causes tuberculosis. The discovery led to the subsequent diagnosis and cure of the infectious disease that was then killing an estimated one out of every seven people at very young ages in the Europe and Americas.
AdvertisementHow Tuberculosis Spreads
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that spreads through air like the common cold. When people who are sick with TB in their lungs cough, sneeze, spit or talk, the TB germs spread in the air and infect people who breathe in the germs. People who inhale the TB germs or bacilli may not immediately fall sick. The germs can lie dormant and when the person's immune system is weakened the disease will surface. Other than the lungs, tuberculosis can also develop in lymph nodes, genitourinary tract, bone and joint areas, meninges (membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) and the lining outside the gastrointestinal tract.
Some WHO TB Facts
• A third of the world population has TB infection
• Globally, nearly 9 million people were suffering from TB in 2010
• There were about 1.5 million TB related deaths worldwide in 2010
• TB is a leading cause of death in patients infected with HIV
Multidrug - resistant TB
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is the biggest threat to serious TB control efforts. MDR-TB is dangerous because it harbors TB bacilli resistant to standard first line drugs such as isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. MDR-TB is often the result of inconsistent or incomplete treatment, when patients fail to take their medicines regularly, usually because they begin to feel better and wrongly assume they are completely cured. Sometimes patients develop MDR-TB because they follow wrong treatment regimens prescribed by doctors and health workers.
Recent TB Trends
An extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB especially in patients with TB and HIV is seriously posing a threat to TB control. World Health Organization (WHO) is pushing global policy to fast forward coordinated public health interventions in order to reduce the fatalities resulting from this dangerous combination of TB and HIV. According to a recent WHO report 910,000 lives have been saved over the last six years by stepping up collaboration between TB and HIV services.
Results of the world's most advanced TB vaccine trial that would be out in early 2013 could perhaps point to a more effective vaccine against tuberculosis thereby reducing the burden of infection and fatalities very soon.
A World Free of TB
In tune with this year's theme, many organizations that join hands globally in the Stop TB partnership have outlined targets that men, women and children can dare to dream and achieve in order to free the world from the clutches of tuberculosis. People young and old, living in different countries can have these hopes to put an end to TB in their lifetimes.
• No more deaths from TB
• Faster treatment
• Quick, low cost, low tech test for TB
• An effective TB vaccine
• A TB free world
Seminars, symposiums, quiz programs, poster presentations and TB vaccination camps for children are some of the events lined up in urban and rural areas in an attempt to increase awareness and check the spread of TB.
The war on TB is all geared up to see a fight to the finish that totally eliminates TB from every corner of the globe. You can do your bit by joining hands with associations or groups working on World TB Day 2012 campaigns and ensure that you've made an individual call to stop TB in your lifetime.