World Tuberculosis Day: We must find and treat everyone with TB, to end TB

    In support of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, 24 March, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies is determined to break the chain of TB transmission. 

    In 2021, 1.2 million children fell ill with TB globally. On World TB Day, FIRS members are focusing on child TB, as children with TB are most likely to have been recently infected by an undiagnosed and untreated adult with infectious TB in their household or community. This is not right. 

    The key to breaking the chain of transmission and ending TB is to find and treat everyone in the community with TB. This simple approach will not only benefit those people who are found and treated, but also protects others from ever being infected with TB. 

    Despite TB being curable, progress is moving slowly.  Over the last decade, TB deaths fell by only 2 per cent per year. Deaths increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, as experts, equipment and money were diverted elsewhere. Sadly, TB will likely kill more people in low- and middle-income countries in 2023 than Covid-19, making it the world’s biggest infectious disease killer.  (Tuberculosis

    Prof Guy Marks, President and Interim Executive Director of FIRS member The Union, said: “We must use our expertise, evidence base and tools more effectively to make TB history, and that starts with finding and treating everyone with TB. We must stop children from ever getting TB.” 

    There remains a large global gap between the estimated number of people who fell ill with TB and the number of people newly diagnosed, with 4.2 million people not diagnosed with the disease, or not officially reported to national authorities in 2021, up from 3.2 million in 2019.

    The Union has developed several resources to support healthcare workers in high TB burden settings with diagnosing children with TB and deciding when and how to start TB treatment in children and adolescents. The Union also coordinates the Child and Adolescent Tuberculosis Centre of Excellence, a virtual network of public health experts in child and adolescent TB in the sub-Sahara Africa region, providing a community of learning and practice. 

    For more on the impact of TB and other respiratory diseases, see the Global Impact of Respiratory Disease Report.  

    About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) 

    The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).  

    The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally. 

    For more information about FIRS please contact Fiona Salter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.