FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
March 24, 2008 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health today recognizes World TB (Tuberculosis) Day, an annual recognition commemorating the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB, by Dr. Robert Koch in 1882.
Tuberculosis is a potentially fatal disease transmitted through the air and is fully treatable and preventable. It particularly affects persons living in crowded conditions and in poverty (e.g., homeless) and persons who have HIV infection (e.g., injection drug users).
Worldwide, TB continues to be a major cause of death. In 2005, the number of cases of TB worldwide was estimated to be 8.8 million and approximately 1.6 million deaths were attributed to this disease. One third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB (defined as latent tuberculosis infection). Five to ten percent of those infected with TB will become sick with active TB some time during their life.
However, substantial progress is being made in the fight against TB. The number of cases reported in 2005 worldwide showed no increase from the previous year, a leveling off of cases for the first time. In the United States, the rate of disease among those born in the U.S. is at its lowest levels ever. Connecticut has, and continues to be, among the states with the lowest rates of TB. In recent years, there have been 90-110 cases of TB reported annually in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health TB Control Program is responsible for TB control efforts in the state and works with healthcare providers and local health departments in a variety of activities including monitoring for new cases, assuring completion of treatment of disease, investigating and treating contacts who have been recently exposed and promoting screening for infection in a variety of settings.
For more information, visit the Department of Public Health TB Control Program website at: www.ct.gov/dph, click on Programs and Services, Tuberculosis.