eNews Park Forest (03.26.13)
Aids Weekly Plus
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recently observed World TB Day on March 24, 2013, to help Illinois residents learn about TB prevention and treatment. Although Illinois recorded fewer TB cases in 2012 than in 2011 (347 compared to 359), it ranks sixth among US states in TB incidence. Most Illinois TB cases (69 percent) originate among people born in countries where TB is prevalent, including India, Mexico, and the Philippines.
IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck noted that TB circulation in other countries can result in more cases in Illinois. Knowing how TB spreads, recognizing the symptoms, and understanding how to treat TB can help stop the spread of the disease. A TB-infected person can transmit TB through the air by sneezing or coughing; daily contact with a TB-infected person increases the risk of transmission. TB usually attacks the lungs, but can affect the brain, kidneys, or spine, according to Hasbrouck. Common TB symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. Treatment requires TB-infected people to take several drugs for 6 to 12 months until they are completely healed; patients who do not complete the full course of therapy risk developing a drug resistant form of TB that is harder and more expensive to treat.
Hasbrouck attributed the decrease in Illinois TB diagnoses to the Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) program, in which public health providers meet regularly with patients to watch them take their TB medicine. Local health departments also work with IDPH to identify people who may have acquired latent TB infection through close contact with TB patients. Other efforts to cut the number of new TB cases include improved screening for immigrants, additional training for healthcare professionals, and development of new TB medicines.
For more information, visit the IDPH Web site at http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/reportdis/tb.htm