World Tuberculosis Day - 24 March 2016

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 2016

The theme for World TB Day 2016 is “Unite to End 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 only 1-2% of these being drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

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 Australian Government released Australia’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy in 2015, which will support global and regional efforts to combat AMR. The Strategy includes tuberculosis as a priority organism for surveillance.

Further information and the latest published data on Tuberculosis notifications in Australia is published online annually in Communicable Diseases Intelligence.

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 Strategic Plan for the Control and Elimination of Tuberculosis in Australia 2016-2020 is currently being drafted by the National Tuberculosis Advisory Committee in accordance with the End TB Strategy and the World Health Organization Towards TB Elimination: An Action Framework for Low-incidence Countries.

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.

Additional Links

For more information on World TB Day 2016 refer to the STOP TB Partnership website