The fear factor - how much do we need to fear a disease to eliminate it?

14 October 2015 - London, United Kingdom - The Stop TB Partnership today launched a video to highlight the limited knowledge about TB in the general population, especially in developed countries. It is crucial that people are aware of the disease so we can engage more actors in the battle to end it.

The video takes on a novel approach. Although TB is one of the deadliest diseases, people have forgotten about it, quite possibly because it’s been around for so long. So what if it was given a new name, like ILD - infectious lung disease?

The producers asked people on the streets of London what they thought about ILD. Most were surprised to learn about the high level of global TB infection. They were even more surprised to learn that ILD is in fact TB, and that it is still very much present today.

The Stop TB Partnership is using this video to raise awareness of the ongoing public health challenge posed by this disease. It will also highlight and address the limited awareness in the general population about TB, the risks and the impact it still has in today’s world. Each day, 18 people in England develop TB. It is airborne, contagious and can be deadly. The bacteria can stay in the air for up to three hours, and a TB infection can lie dormant in the body for decades without symptoms - until, in some cases, it turns into active TB.

Yet TB is a preventable and curable disease that can be diagnosed and treated with proper care.

"The bacteria that cause TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has killed human beings for thousands of years and continues to do so. But people forget and do not understand that TB - which is airborne, infectious and present everywhere - can affect all of us and any of us could be the next TB or MDR TB patient. How much we know and how much we understand TB is the measure of how much we can do to fight it," said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.

For more information on TB, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment in the UK, please see here.

Read Public Health England's full 2015 report presenting TB data to the end of 2014.