Today is World Tuberculosis Day. 132 years ago, Dr. Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by pinpointing the cause of tuberculosis (TB), earning him the Nobel Prize in Medicine. At the time, the TB epidemic was killing 1 in every 7 people in the U.S. and Europe. Today, one million children still suffer from it every year. 32,000 have drug-resistant strains.
Check out these stats from the World Health Organization:
–8.6 million people developed TB in 2012 causing 1.3 million deaths
–95% of TB death occur in low and middle income countries
–450,000 people developed multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in 2012
–9,588 new cases of TB in U.S. last year, half were diagnosed in California, Texas, New York, and Florida
TB is an airborne disease transmitted by a cough or sneeze. Most cases are curable, but nearly three million people don’t have access to the care they need, mostly in developing countries. This year on World TB Day, the Stop TB Partnership along with the World Health Organization is trying to reach the “missed” three million.
For more information, watch Frontline’s special, “TB Silent Killer” March 25th at 10pm on PBS.