The fight to eradicate Tuberculosis (TB) is far from over; this often-overlooked disease is still among the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In the European Union and European Economic Area around 60 000 TB cases are reported annually. World Tuberculosis Day – marked each year on 24 March – is an occasion to raise awareness and advocate for efforts to eliminate TB.
TB is high on the agenda in 2018. The first World Health Organization Ministerial Conference on TB, which took place at the end of last year, saw over 120 national delegations adopt the ‘Moscow Declaration to End TB ’. Following on from this commitment, the first-ever United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on tuberculosis is now being prepared for 26 September 2018.
Together with the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has just published the annual joint report ‘Tuberculosis surveillance and monitoring in Europe 2018’, with a detailed overview of the TB situation in Europe. Although a consistent downward trend has been observed since 2002, this needs to at least double in order to achieve the targets set as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and the global End TB Strategy. To further efforts, in 2017 ECDC launched a pilot project on the use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) technology to improve the detection and investigation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the EU/EEA.
For further information, an infographic on ECDC’s WGS pilot project, the TB annual surveillance report, presentations on TB in the EU/EEA, online resources relating to TB from national organisations and much more, see ECDC’s World Tuberculosis Day 2018 page.