Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health concern worldwide: despite a regular, although slow, decline in incidence over the last decade, as many as 8.6 million new cases and 1.3 million deaths were estimated to have occurred in 2012. TB is by all means a poverty-related disease, mainly affecting the most vulnerable populations in the poorest countries. The presence of multidrug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis in most countries, with some where prevalence is high, is among the major challenges for TB control, which may hinder recent achievements especially in some settings. Early TB case detection especially in resource-constrained settings and in marginalized groups remains a challenge, and about 3 million people are estimated to remain undiagnosed or not notified and untreated. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently launched the new global TB strategy for the “post-2015 era” aimed at “ending the global TB epidemic” by 2035, based on the three pillars that emphasize patient-centred TB care and prevention, bold policies and supportive systems, and intensified research and innovation.
This paper aims to provide an overview of the global TB epidemiology as well as of the main challenges that must be faced to eliminate the disease as a public health problem everywhere.