FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
March 23, 2010 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and public health officials across the state and nation will recognize World TB (Tuberculosis) Day to increase awareness and vigilance about one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
“Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that today claims more than a million lives worldwide annually,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. “By working together with officials locally and worldwide, we can work to help eliminate the world of one of its most deadliest diseases.”
March 24th commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacteria. At the time of Koch’s announcement, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch’s discovery opened the way toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.
Connecticut public health officials are joining in a campaign organized by the global Stop TB Partnership, to bring an end to this epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s theme for this year is “TB Elimination: Together We Can!” and encourages partnership across the globe to help fight this disease.
Worldwide TB continues to be a major cause of disease and death. In 2008, the number of cases of TB worldwide was estimated to be 9 million and 1.8 million deaths were attributed to this disease. Drug resistant TB, caused by inconsistent or partial treatment, is also a growing concern. 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.
Tuberculosis, a deadly disease, is transmitted through the air and is, fortunately, both treatable and preventable. It particularly affects persons from countries where TB incidence is high, persons who have HIV infection, and persons who have recently been exposed to someone with TB disease.
Progress is being made in the fight against TB. In most parts of the world, the number of new cases is falling slowly. In the United States, the disease rates among those born in the U.S. are at their lowest level ever. Connecticut has, and continues to be, among the states with the lowest rates of TB. In recent years, there have been 90-100 cases of TB disease reported annually in Connecticut.
The DPH 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.
Many partners throughout Connecticut are joining the Department of Public Health in recognizing World TB Day and raising awareness about this global epidemic. Our partners include the following organizations and committees.
· Hartford Health Department
· Stamford Health Department
· Stratford Health Department
· Danbury Health Department
· Greenwich Health Department
· Bridgeport Health Department
· Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, New Haven
· Connecticut Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Tuberculosis
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.