Tuberculosis (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 active respiratory disease. In healthy people, infection with M. tuberculosis often does not cause symptoms, because the person's immune system acts to 'wall off' the bacteria. The symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing (sometimes with sputum or blood), chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. This disease is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.

Key facts
  • COVID-19 has reversed progress in the fight against TB by over a decade. Due to this pandemic, access to essential TB prevention and care services in 2020 is severely affected.
  • Globally, in 2020, an estimated 9.9 million people were ill with TB, an estimated 1.5 million people die from TB, including 214,000 among persons living with HIV.
  • In the Americas, there were 291,000 estimated incident TB cases in 2020.
  • The estimated mortality rate for the region was 27,000, of which 29% (7,900) corresponds to TB/HIV coinfection.
  • 4,007 MDR/RR TB cases were diagnosed. Of those, only 89% began treatment.
  • The proportion of RR-TB cases studied for fluoroquinolone resistance decreased to 29% compared to 53% in the previous year.
  • The END TB Strategy aims to end the tuberculosis epidemic in the world and is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under three high-level indicators: to reduce TB deaths by 95%, to decrease new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035, and to ensure that no family is facing catastrophic costs due to TB.
Fact sheet