Tuberculosis – a global health emergency

World Tuberculosis(TB) Day is observed every year, on March 24th – the day in 1882 when Robert Koch discovered the bacteria that causes TB. Despite much effort to control the disease, it is estimated that one third of the world’s population is infected with TB, and in 1993 the World Health Organization declared tuberculosis a global health emergency.    

In 2006, the Stop TB Partnership developed a Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis that aimed to save 14 million lives between 2006 and 2015, but that target is unlikely to be achieved due to the emergence of TB associated with HIV infections and the spread of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

BioMed Central encourages the global effort to combat TB by providing a range of forums for the dissemination of research into the disease; the key to fighting back against TB is being armed with a better understanding of the bacteria that cause TB (mainly Mycobacterium tuberculosis but also its relations such as Mycobacterium bovis). BMC Infectious Diseases has a dedicated section for TB related articles, headed by Section Editor Professor Steve Lawn of the University of Cape Town. The journal has recently published an important article on a potential new method of diagnosing TB.  

BMC Microbiology regularly publishes the latest findings on the biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and its relatives, whilst the immunological aspects of TB are addressed in BMC Immunology. Although a significant portion of the world is infected with TB, the disease mainly manifests in the immunocompromized, such as those with HIV and other parasitic infections or the elderly.  

This year’s World TB Day focuses on ‘stopping TB in our lifetime’. To find out more, please visit the Stop TB partnership.

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