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The Global Burden of Tuberculosis, 1990-2013

on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 03:54


Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is a curable and preventable disease.

TB is a communicable disease that spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of those germs to become infected.

About one-third of the world's population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease. People infected with TB bacteria have a lifetime risk of 10% of falling ill with TB. However persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.

The World TB Day

World TB Day, observed on March 24, marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). The discovery set the stage for successful diagnosis and treatment of the disease.The theme of the World TB Day 2015 was announced by Stop TB Partnership as "Reach the 3 Million: Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone".   

On this World TB Day, we want 1) to raise awareness about the burden of TB worldwide and the status of TB prevention and control efforts; and 2) to call for global, national and local efforts to continue the commitment to find, treat and cure all people with TB and accelerate progress towards the bold goal of ending TB by 2035.

The Data Visualization

The interactive data visualization uses TB estimates from WHO Global TB databases as data sources. This exploratory dashboard allows you to explore the burden of TB worldwide, by reagions and countries and learn about the level and distribution of key metrics and measures of TB surveillance, such as incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. 

Key findings

  • Globally in 2013, almost 9 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died due to TB and TB/HIV.
  • It is estimated a total of 11.5 million people living with TB
  • In 2013, the largest number of new TB cases occurred in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions, accounting for 56% of new cases globally. However, Africa carried the greatest proportion of new cases per population with 280 cases per 100 000 population in 2013.
  • In 2013, African Region exhibits the higest number of deaths (295 thousand deaths) due to TB among HIV-positive people
  • Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • TB is a leading killer of HIV-positive people causing one fourth of all HIV-related deaths.
  • The estimated number of people falling ill with TB each year (new cases or incidence case rate) is declining, which means that the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to reverse the spread of TB by 2015.
  • The TB death rate dropped 45% between 1990 and 2013, and an estimated 37 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2013.
  • The TB incidence rate in many countries of the World has dropped
  • The TB prevalence rate in many countries has dropped and are on track to achieve the Millenium Development Goal of halving the prevalence of TB by 2015 respect to the value of 1990. 

Do you have an idea of the incidence, prevalence and mortality from TB in yor country? Find the answer to this question by hovering over your country in the map and see the level and trends of these metrics on the line charts located at the righ-side of the dashboard.


Countries of the world has made significant progress in reducing the burden of TB, but much more efforts and resources are needed to end the Tuberculosis epidemic. 

"Ending the tuberculosis epidemic will require bold policies and supportive health systems in the context of universal health coverage, to ensure that no one lacks access to early diagnosis or the treatment they need," said Dr. Mirtha del Granado, PAHO/WHO Advisor on TB. "Only this way will we be able to put an end to TB."

TB epidemic also requires sustained and predictable funding, political engagement and support. Countries have to step up their domestic investments in TB in a cost efficient manner, prioritizing interventions that work and show impact. Communities, people affected and civil society have to be in the driving seat.


WHO. Tuberculosis database, Global Tuberculosis Program, World Health Organization (WHO). Available online: Accessed on March 19, 2015

World TB Day 2015: "Reach the 3 Million: Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone", Stop TB Partnership. Accessed on March 19, 2015

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