Camellia the Official Emblem of World TB Day

Since 1982, World TB day has been held annually on the 24th of March to raise public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to reduce the impact of this disease worldwide. The date commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced the discovery of the microorganisms that cause tuberculosis. 

In Australia, World TB day has a low profile. However, TB continues to be the second leading cause of death from infectious disease worldwide. Almost 95% of cases and deaths occur in the developing world. Despite the availability of effective treatment, TB continues to claim the lives of over 1.8 million people annually. If left unchecked, multidrug resistant strains of TB could become uncontrollable. Ensuring the cheap distribution and availability of treatment is essential. Given the right public attention, TB could be eliminated by 2050. 

Dr Stephen Utick, Director of Australia for the International Camellia Society, presented a yellow camellia to Brett Toelle and Elena Belousova. The gesture initiates a project to raise the profile of World TB day in Australia and internationally. Using a floral emblem to commemorate World TB day will build awareness of a global health challenge that could and should be redressed.