We CAN have a world with zero TB deaths. Watch the animated video on TB and don’t forget to share and spread the word! Learn more about USAID’s TB programs.
TB Fast Draw Script
For centuries, tuberculosis or TB has been one of mankind’s most challenging diseases. In 400 BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates identified TB as the most widespread disease of ancient Greece, and it was almost always fatal.
TB is a disease that can spread through the air and infect others, usually when a person with TB coughs or sneezes. More than 2 billion people—one-third of the world’s total population—are infected with TB. In healthy people, the body is able to defend itself against TB, and those people do not have symptoms and they cannot spread TB. However, when someone becomes sick with TB, they can transmit it to others through the air.
Today, TB is the second-leading cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide. Every year around 1.3 million people die of TB. That is one death every 18 seconds. TB usually affects the lungs but can affect any organ in the body.
TB is especially common among poor and underserved populations, and now, a growing number of people are getting a kind of TB that does not respond to medicines normally used to treat it, and instead, requires special drugs that are often difficult to take because of serious and toxic side effects, including permanent hearing loss. This is called drug-resistant TB.
Also, people with HIV/AIDS are more likely to become sick with TB because their body’s defenses are already weakened by the HIV virus. TB remains a major cause of death throughout the world where people also have HIV.
We have made remarkable progress against both TB and HIV in the last several years. The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is a global leader in the fight against TB. USAID works with partners around the world to make available proven approaches to help diagnose, treat and care for people with TB.
In partnership with the World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the U.S. is leading the charge to improve TB diagnosis and treatment and to address the challenges of drug resistant TB and co-infection with HIV/AIDS.
Early diagnosis of TB is important so that patients can be quickly treated. This also helps the community control the spread of TB. The U.S. Government is supporting the worldwide use of GeneXpert, an innovative diagnostic test for TB, especially the kind of TB that is resistant to commonly used TB drugs. The test provides results in under two hours, and is now available in nearly 100 countries that may not have the resources on their own to pay for and use the test.
There is also the promise of a new, more tolerable, TB drug – the first one in almost 50 years.
Because of strong global partnerships and U.S. Government-supported programs, we have succeeded in driving down deaths from TB – but, the global fight against this disease remains fragile. We now have the capability of ensuring a world free of TB, and yet sadly, millions of people across the globe continue to die from this curable disease. The lack of funds and new tools and drugs threaten the progress made in improving TB programs and in continuing to reduce the number of TB cases.
But we CAN eliminate TB…through working with large and small organizations across the globe committed to defeating TB, through scientific research aimed at developing bold new tools and effective drugs, through making people aware of TB and showing how they can make a difference, and by identifying TB cases early, and treating them successfully, we can create communities around the world that are TB-free.
TB knows no boundaries or barriers. It targets the poor and vulnerable, but ANYONE can get it. The time to act is now. Let’s work together to push for zero deaths from TB and to make TB care and treatment available to everyone who needs it.
Last updated: November 12, 2015