The theme of World TB Day 2021 is “The Clock is Ticking” because the world is running out of time to act on global commitments to end Tuberculosis (TB), according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tuberculosis is one of the world’s deadly diseases. Each day, nearly 4,000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, global attention to TB has waned.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the collective responses to it has caused a disruption of TB prevention and treatment services globally, threatening to derail the progress that has been made to date,” says Dr. Zelalem Temesgen, medical director of theÂ Mayo Clinic Center for Tuberculosis.
“COVID-19 has rightly been in the spotlight over the last year as a catastrophic infectious disease, but that doesn’t mean we can take our focus off of other infectious diseases like tuberculosis,” adds Dr. Temesgen. “Alternatively, it also has highlighted, perhaps as has never been done before, the importance of publicÂ health.”
Dr. Stacey Rizza, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert and executive medical director for Mayo Clinic International, says TB is a deadly public health crisis that knows no borders. She says there are still too many people affected by this disease. “It’s estimated that 25 percent of the world’s population is infected with TB,” says Dr. Rizza.
Journalists: Broadcast quality video of Dr. Rizza’s public education message is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy: “Mayo Clinic News Network.”
Dr. Temesgen and Dr. Rizza encourage people to rely on trusted resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO and Mayo Clinic’s Center for Tuberculosis. All are good places to learn about TB worldwide.
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JOURNALISTS: To request an interview with Dr. Temesgen, contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Media Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.