LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, World Tuberculosis Day will be observed across the country including Lahore today (Tuesday) with the aim to raise public awareness and the efforts made to prevent and treat this disease.

Seminars, workshops, walks and free medical camps will be arranged at the government and private level to highlight the importance of prevention, timely diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the disease. WHO estimates that the largest number of new TB cases in 2005 occurred in south-east Asia, which accounted for 34 percent of incident cases globally. However, the estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly twice that of south-east Asia.

World Tuberculosis Day, annually held on March 24, marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch detected the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.  This was a first step towards diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.

World Tuberculosis Day can be traced back to 1982, when the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease launched World TB Day on March 24 that year, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Dr Koch’s discovery.

In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) joined the union and other organizations to promote World TB Day. The Stop TB Partnership, called the Stop TB Initiative at the time of its inception, was established in 1998. It is a network of organizations and countries fighting tuberculosis.