This Saturday 24 March is World TB Day

Centenary, Media releases

TB used to be Australia’s top killer and in much of the world it still is.

Australian experts available to talk about a scourge killing three people every minute.

Tomorrow marks 130 years since the discovery of the cause of tuberculosis (TB)—a disease that kills more than one million people worldwide every year.

In 1882, TB was the leading cause of death in Australia – twenty times deadlier per capita than today’s road toll and equivalent to all cancer deaths put together today.

Discovering the cause enabled Australia and other developed countries to push back successfully against TB with massive public health, screening and vaccine programs.

But TB never went away:

  • TB is the number four cause of death among women worldwide.
  • In Australia, TB still infects around 1,000 people each year.
  • Drug-resistant strains of TB have been reported in our nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea—and over other 58 countries.

But we’ve had some wins: since 1995, 46 million people worldwide have been successfully treated and up to 6.8 million lives have been saved through short-course chemotherapy.

For World TB Day 2012, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called for global action to stop TB in our lifetime: Centenary Institute and their host of TB researchers are heeding that call.

Warwick Britton: As a young doctor, he saw TB close up in Nepal—today his teams are looking at potential new TB drugs, new vaccines and better public health interventions.

The founder of Centenary’s group that looks at TB, Warwick can talk about his first-hand experiences of the disease, as well as the big picture of global efforts to stop TB.

To contact Warwick, call Niall on 0417 131-977.

Greg Fox: A doctor and PhD student who lives with his young family in Vietnam, Greg is looking at better ways to screen for TB

Greg is part of a $1.3 million project to screen family of TB patients and others in close contact with TB patients.  He’s also working on a genetics study to find who is more susceptible to TB. Dr Greg Fox is good talent and is in Sydney this week.

More about Greg and his work:

Bernadette Saunders: Using a million dollar lab to fast track new weapons in the war on TB

Bernie has just helped open a $1.2 million high-containment lab that will allow researchers to double their efforts to understand and fight back against TB.  Bernie is Centenary’s expert on how our bodies combat TB.

More about Bernie and her work:

Magda Ellis: Genetics expert searching rural China for clues to stop an ancient and deadly disease

This Sydney researcher is seeking to improve treatment of TB by tracking resistance to it among thousands of rural Chinese with the help of a $750,000 NHMRC grant.  Magda is a genetics expert, having worked with the Wellcome trust in the UK.  She has also done fieldwork in China.

More about Magda and her work:

For interviews and further information: