Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that spreads through the air. It most often affects the lungs, but can exist in any organ of the body. When a person with lung TB coughs, sneezes or spits, TB bacteria are released into the air. Another person only needs to inhale a few of these bacteria to become infected.
TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease. In 2016 alone, it killed close to 1.7 million people, over 95 percent of which were living in low- and middle-income countries. Every year, over 10 million people still fall ill from a disease that is both preventable and treatable. Over 10 percent of those who fall ill from the disease are co-infected with HIV, and another 10 percent are children.
We’ve known how to treat and prevent TB for over 70 years, yet over 10 million people fall ill from the disease every year. Tuberculosis is the world’s deadliest infectious disease and takes its greatest toll on the poor.