World Tuberculosis Day - 24 March 2017

World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is an annual event that marks the anniversary of German Nobel Laureate, Dr Robert Koch’s 1882 discovery of the bacterium that causes TB. Falling on 24 March every year, World TB day builds public awareness that TB, a disease which, despite being curable, remains a destructive epidemic in much of the world.

Page last updated: 21 March 2017

The theme for World TB Day 2017 is “Unite to End TB. World TB Day is an opportunity for people everywhere to join this fight by helping to educate others about TB.

Australia has achieved and maintained good TB control since the mid-1980s, and has one of the lowest TB incidence rates in the world. Each year, approximately 1,300 new cases of TB are diagnosed in Australia with the majority (approximately 90%) of new TB cases diagnosed in people born overseas. The number of multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases diagnosed in Australia is low by international standards, with approximately 1-2% of cases being classified as MDR-TB.

Further information on Tuberculosis notifications in Australia is available online in the Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal.

Australia’s pre-migration health screening requirements for TB have been very effective in protecting the Australian community against this public health risk. Australia continuously improves its pre-migration screening practices and has recently expanded TB screening to include young children. Australia has also commenced initiatives to raise awareness of TB overseas, including providing information about TB risks and treatment to overseas students applying for a visa to study in Australia. Furthermore, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is working with an extensive network of doctors offshore and is subsequently enhancing the capacity of many countries in the world to detect and treat TB.

For more information on immigration health requirements refer to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

The End TB Strategy

In May 2014, the Australian Government co-sponsored and endorsed the World Health Assembly Resolution EB134.R4 –Global strategy and targets for tuberculosis prevention, care and control after 2015 to end the global TB epidemic. The End TB Strategy: Global strategy and targets for tuberculosis prevention, care and control after 2015 aims to end the global TB epidemic, with targets to reduce TB deaths by 95% and to cut new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035, and to ensure that no family is burdened with catastrophic expenses due to TB. It sets interim milestones for 2020, 2025, and 2030.

The National Tuberculosis Advisory Committee

TB is a nationally notifiable disease which enables the Department of Health, in partnership with State and Territory Governments, to continuously monitor TB incidence in Australia.

The National Tuberculosis Advisory Committee provides expert advice to the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments on the prevention and control of TB. NTAC has developed various TB guidelines and position statements to assist the TB community.

Additional Links

For more information on World TB Day 2017 refer to the STOP TB Partnership website.