Friday, 23 March 2012

World Tuberculosis Day 24th March 2012

World TB Day, falling on March 24th each year, is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of several million people each year, mostly in developing countries. It commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. At the time of Koch’s announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch’s discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB. (text from

For those researching tuberculosis in the past, there are plenty of statistics about TB in British India in our Medical History of British India collection. Many soldiers and inmates of jails and asylums died from it and much epidemiological data can be downloaded from the website from the htm files.

Meanwhile, in our stacks here in the Library, reports from the Public Health Commissioner (shelfmark IP/QA.7) explore the prevalence of TB in India under British rule. In 1933 it was estimated that there were over two million cases of TB in India, being particularly serious in Bengal, Madras and the Punjab.

Now in 2012, people of different ages and living in different countries could have these hopes for stopping TB in their lifetimes:

•Zero deaths from TB
•Faster treatment
•A quick, cheap, low-tech test
•An effective vaccine
•A world free of TB.

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