Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top three infectious-disease killers in the world, claiming roughly 1.7 million lives globally each year.  Although TB is both preventable and curable, it continues to proliferate around the world as a global epidemic.

Tuberculosis is an international problem, and it seems that the whole world wants it fixed. World TB Day, celebrated yesterday, March 24, commemorates the date in 1882 when Robert Koch MD announced his discovery of the TB bacterium.

Multiple national, regional, and global organizations took part in World TB Day, reflecting the worldwide craving for a TB-free existence. Led by the Stop TB Partnership, World TB Day is intended to generate and maintain awareness of one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

In addition to the Stop TB Partnership, many other organizations, including the American Lung Association, the World Health Organization, Direct Relief International, and the International Union against TB and Lung Disease made statements, lobbied Congress, and raised awareness of the TB epidemic yesterday.

The Stop TB Partnership was established in 2000 and includes over 500 international organizations, donors, and countries. The array of participation in the Stop TB partnership reflects the massive expanse of lives affected by the disease.

I Am Stopping TB” was this year’s slogan for World TB Day, but it shouldn’t be a fleeting proposal that ended at midnight last night. It is also the launch of an international 2-year campaign. The Stop TB Web site states that the campaign slogan “belongs to people everywhere who are doing their part to stop TB.” “I Am Stopping TB” echoes the idea that eradicating TB is up to the 6.6 billion individuals around the world.

To encourage individual efforts, the Stop TB Web site has a link for anyone who participates to upload and share photos, posters, stories, and web materials from their own events.

India, China, Indonesia, South Africa, and Nigeria hold the top five spots for the number of TB cases reported. The hundreds of thousands of cases of multidrug-resistant TB each year are a main cause for the continued crisis with TB. In addition, TB currently requires medication for an extended period of time after symptoms have stopped, a difficulty for many TB patients, especially those in third world countries (developing nations?) where TB death rates are highest.