"Tuberculosis: Stop, Screen, and Listen – Advancing Screening in Response to World Tuberculosis Day's Theme 'Yes! We Can End TB' – Silent Tuberculosis Leaves No Trace"

    In response to the World Health Organization's goal to eliminate tuberculosis by 2035, the theme of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, 2024 is "Yes! We Can End TB," advocating for the importance of tuberculosis prevention and control to achieve the 2035 goal. The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) held a press conference titled "Stop, Screen, and Listen – Advancing Screening" on World Tuberculosis Day at the Taipei Main Station's first-floor multi-purpose exhibition area, jointly organized with Health Bureaus from 22 counties and cities. The event aimed to promote the importance of screening and treating latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). After the press conference, a Facebook check-in activity  is being held to raise public awareness that tuberculosis, a respiratory infectious disease, is yet to be eradicated and requires the collective efforts and attention of society to achieve the goal of tuberculosis elimination.

     Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Jih-Haw Chou expressed that over the years, Taiwan's tuberculosis (TB) prevention and control efforts have been a result of collaborative endeavors from county and city governments, medical institutions, relevant medical associations, civil society organizations, and the general public. In 2023, the new TB incidence rate in Taiwan was 28 cases per 100,000 population, compared to 73 cases per 100,000 population in 2005, marking a cumulative decline of 62%. To achieve the goal of tuberculosis elimination, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is promoting diverse prevention and control strategies committed to patient-centered case management and care. In addition to strengthening basic TB case management and conducting contact tracing and examinations, emphasis is placed on the early detection and intervention of suspected TB cases. Furthermore, efforts are made to expand LTBI (Latent Tuberculosis Infection) testing and treatment, providing preventive treatment for those infected but not yet ill to prevent future progression to active TB disease.

     Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) refers to a condition where the tuberculosis bacteria, having infected the lungs, are encapsulated by granulomatous tissue, but the infected individual has not yet developed active tuberculosis (TB) due to sufficient immune response. LTBI individuals do not exhibit symptoms and are not contagious. Approximately 5 to 10% of LTBI individuals will develop active TB over their lifetime, but receiving LTBI treatment can effectively reduce this risk by 90%. In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been actively promoting LTBI testing and treatment among high-risk populations, including contacts of TB cases, residents of long-term care facilities, indigenous populations in mountainous areas, inmates in correctional facilities, new immigrants, and individuals with chronic comorbidities. Last year, nearly 100,000 people received LTBI testing services, with 11,345 individuals tested positive for LTBI and received treatment. People with poorly controlled diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease undergoing dialysis are considered high-risk groups for TB. This year, the CDC is collaborating with medical institutions to encourage individuals with these conditions to actively undergo LTBI testing and treatment to protect themselves and their families. There are currently 608 medical institutions nationwide providing LTBI services (https://www.cdc.gov.tw/Uploads/cd724423-be78-48ab-99f7-00400fe423d9.pdf).

     Representatives from tuberculosis policy advocacy associations along with the tuberculosis prevention ambassador, Ms. Zuping Jiang, were invited to the press conference to show their support for tuberculosis control efforts. The event was held at a bustling transportation hub, symbolizing the launching point for spreading LTBI screening concepts across Taiwan, and the alignment with the spirit of World Tuberculosis Day to end tuberculosis.
     We cordially invite the public to visit the walkway adjacent to the West-1 Gate at the first floor of Taipei Main Station from 4:00 PM on March 22 to 5:00 PM on March 28. There, you can take photos and check in with Bai Jing and Uncle TB, and participate in a lucky draw to support World Tuberculosis Day activities. We welcome everyone to raise awareness for tuberculosis elimination (#WorldTBDay #YesWeCanEndTB #TaiwanCDC). For any other inquiries related to tuberculosis, please visit the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov.tw), message the CDC LINE account, or call the toll-free epidemic prevention hotline 1922 (or 0800-001922) within Taiwan. Additionally, you can follow the "Centers for Disease Control – Infectious Disease Expert 1922 " (https://www.facebook.com/TWCDC/?locale=zh_TW) on Facebook to access information and knowledge on tuberculosis prevention.