Will tuberculosis be the next disease to be eliminated in Europe?

news story

It should be. Despite being a curable disease, tuberculosis (TB) is still a challenging public health issue in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA), with over 55 000 TB infections reported annually and thousands of fatalities.

Acknowledging that TB is a global scourge, global leaders renewed their commitment to end TB by 2030 at a high-level United Nations meeting in 2018, as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Is the commitment to eliminate TB a realistic target for the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries?

The latest joint report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe Tuberculosis surveillance and monitoring in Europe 2019 (2017 data) indicates that, despite the continuing decline observed in TB notification rates, the EU/EEA countries face a number of challenges in reaching the SDG target. However, this is by no means an impossible feat. It will simply require concerted efforts for robust surveillance and reporting on one front, and on another improved diagnosis, enhanced treatment and the provision of care for all TB patients, including those in vulnerable populations.

World Tuberculosis Day – marked each year on 24 March – is an occasion to raise awareness and advocate for efforts to eliminate TB. See the ECDC World Tuberculosis Day 2019 page listing the latest news and resources on TB.