World Tuberculosis Day

World Tuberculosis Day—also known as World TB Day—is an international event commemorated annually to educate the general public about the impact that tuberculosis has on people and communities around the world. In 2019 alone, over 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis, and over 1.4 million people died from it.

Since TB is one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, it’s important to spread information about this observance and help people around the world take steps to protect themselves against it. So let’s celebrate this day on March 24th and help educate everyone about the dangers of TB.

The History of World Tuberculosis Day

World Tuberculosis Day is observed on the 24th of March because this is when Dr. Robert Koch announced to a small group of doctors and scientists at the University of Berlin’s Institute of Hygiene that he had discovered the TB bacillus—the cause of tuberculosis—in 1882. However, it would still be another 100 years before World Tuberculosis Day was first observed and even longer before it would become an official holiday.

This holiday was proposed in 1982—on the 100th anniversary of Koch’s announcement about TB—by the International Union Against Tuberculosis & Lung Disease, also known as the IUATLD. March 24th was suggested to be observed annually as World Tuberculosis Day. This began a year-long effort that operated under the theme “Defeat TB: Now and Forever.” World TB Day wouldn’t officially be observed as an annual event until 1996. It has been observed every year since then.

Facts About TB

As we delved into the research behind this holiday, we learned a lot about tuberculosis. This is information that we feel we have a duty to share with everyone reading about World TB Day. We hope that it educates everyone who comes across it about the importance of eradicating TB from the world.

  • All across the world, TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death from a single infectious disease, even surpassing HIV/AIDS.
  • In 2019, 87% of new TB cases occurred in the 30 countries with a high tuberculosis burden.
  • India, Indonesia, China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and South Africa account for two-thirds of the world’s TB infection totals.
  • Tuberculosis is the leading killer of people infected with the HIV virus.
  • Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) continues to be a public health crisis and a health security threat around the world.
  • Modern tuberculosis treatments have saved the lives of over 60 million people between the years 2000 and 2021.
  • The world is still far from completely eliminating TB.

Observing World Tuberculosis Day

Every year, a different theme is used for directing the promotional efforts of this day and for focusing the public’s attention on the most important steps needed to defeat TB. In 1997, the first theme was “Use DOTS more widely,” and in 2021 the theme was “The Clock is Ticking.” People can also spread the word about this international event by using the hashtags #WorldTBDay or #WorldTuberculosisDay on their social media accounts.

When is it?
This year (2024)
March 24 Sunday
Next year (2025)
March 24 Monday
Last year (2023)
March 24 Friday
Health & Body, United Nations