Tuberculosis isn't a disease you often hear about in the United States, however, if you live in Texas you might be familiar with it. Texas is one of four states (California, Florida, New York) that accounts for half of all TB cases diagnosed in the US.  Recently north Texas experienced a string of 5 outbreaks in high schools and colleges. The latest campus is Tarrant County College, which is only about 6 miles away from the house I grew up in and where I took calculus during my first summer off from UT as an undergrad.   The Centers for Disease Control reports that cases in the US are at the lowest they've ever been since TB was first nationally tracked in 1953 although some areas like Bexar county continue to see TB cases on the rise.
According to the World Health Organization:
"World TB Day raises awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. One-third of the world's population is currently infected with TB. The Stop TB Partnership, a network of organizations and countries fighting TB, organizes the Day to highlight the scope of the disease and how to prevent and cure it.

The annual event on 24 March marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch detected the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. This was a first step towards diagnosing and curing tuberculosis. WHO is working to cut TB prevalence rates and deaths by half by 2015."


For more information on TB, check out the CDC page:  http://www.cdc.gov/tb/default.htm 
Author
Stavana Strutz is a doctoral candidate in the Parmesan lab at the University of Texas at Austin studying disease ecology and evolution.
 


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