March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day. Many in America are too young to remember when tuberculosis (TB) was the most feared disease in the country. For this we can thank a group of doctors and concerned citizens who, in 1904, founded an organization to eradicate the disease. That organization, which would later become the American Lung Association, spearheaded a public health and research campaign that resulted in TB being largely controlled in the U.S.
While great strides have been made, TB is still a global health threat that infects one-third of the world's population and takes 1.4 million lives a year. Even in the U.S., the decline in TB has slowed and strains of drug-resistant TB have emerged and spread; clear signs that the fight against TB is far from over.
The American Lung Association has taken up other causes in our fight for healthy lungs, but TB eradication is still an important part of our mission. This World Tuberculosis Day, the Lung Association thanks and honors the educators, researchers, and care-givers who are marching with us toward a day when TB can finally being a forgotten scourge of the past.
President & CEO
American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic