Skip to main content

March 24, 2023: World Tuberculosis Day

WHEREAS, tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can lead to either latent TB infection (LTBI) or active TB disease (TB disease). People with LTBI do not have symptoms and cannot spread the bacteria to others, but they are at risk of developing TB disease later in life. It is estimated that up to 13 million people in the United States have LTBI. Without treatment, LTBI can turn into TB disease and cause severe illness or even death; and,

WHEREAS, tuberculosis primarily affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the spine, brain, eye, or kidneys; and,

WHEREAS, the main symptoms of TB disease include feeling weak or sick, unintentional weight loss, fever, and night sweats. If the tuberculosis bacteria are in the lungs, the symptoms include a cough, chest pain, and coughing up blood; and,

WHEREAS, tuberculosis is primarily spread when someone with TB disease in their lungs spreads the bacteria into the air by coughing, speaking, or singing, and the tuberculosis bacteria are breathed in by other people nearby; and,

WHEREAS, 7,882 people were diagnosed with TB disease in the United States in 2021. In Michigan, 137 people were diagnosed with TB disease and 461 people were exposed to tuberculosis through close contact in 2021. Worldwide, tuberculosis is the thirteenth leading cause of death; and,

WHEREAS, some people are at a higher risk of developing TB disease, including those in close contact to a person with infectious TB, people who have lived in areas of the world with high rates of tuberculosis, children under five, and people who work or reside in places like hospitals, shelters, prisons, or nursing homes. Certain medical conditions and medications can weaken the immune system, increasing the risk of developing TB disease. Some of these include untreated HIV, substance abuse, uncontrolled diabetes, severe kidney disease, and medications such as corticosteroids or biologic anti-inflammatory drugs; and, 

WHEREAS, World Tuberculosis Day is held each March 24th to commemorate the date in 1882 that Dr. Robert Koch announced he had discovered the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. His discovery made possible future work to diagnose and cure tuberculosis; and,

WHEREAS, both LTBI and TB disease are treatable and curable with antibiotics. Treatment for LTBI usually takes three to four months and treatment for TB disease lasts at least six months; and, 

WHEREAS, this March, we join with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to raise awareness of tuberculosis and the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms, the testing groups at high risk of developing TB disease, and how to  treat TB disease and LTBI;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim March 24, 2023, as World Tuberculosis Day in Michigan.