World Tuberculosis Day 2015

24 Mar 2015

For World TB Day 2015, ECDC focused on the specific challenges that Europe faces on the road to elimination.

World Tuberculosis Day is a worldwide initiative which aims at raising awareness about the global epidemics of tuberculosis and the efforts made to eliminate this preventable disease.

Despite historically low numbers and a significant decline over the last ten years, EU/EEA countries are not all progressing in the same way. The downward trend is influenced by a marked decline of TB in high-priority countries, whereas in some low-incidence countries the notification rates are actually going up. To become the first continent free of tuberculosis, Europe needs to step up its efforts and move from passive control to active elimination.

Key messages

  • At the current pace of an annual 6% decline, the EU/EEA will only be free of tuberculosis in the next century. In order to achieve elimination by 2050 for example, Europe would have to cut down cases at least twice as fast.

  • Europe needs tailored interventions which target each country’s settings. In most low-incidence countries TB rates are stable or going down only very slowly and the majority of patients are of foreign-origin. Countries with high incidence overall face higher rates of re-infection and relapses and report many more MDR TB cases.

  • The goal to eliminate TB depends on a more efficient use of current tools and interventions, to be complemented by new and more effective ones.


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