Continued vigilance needed to keep TB on the decline
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
March 22, 2013 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today said that new cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the state are at their lowest levels, but warned that the disease is still a serious concern and demands vigilance to keep it on the decline.
World TB Day is recognized on March 24th around the globe to increase awareness about one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Health officials say that progress is being made in the fight against TB. In many parts of the world, the number of new cases is falling slowly.
In the United States, disease rates are at their lowest level ever. Connecticut is among the states with the lowest rates of TB. In 2012, there were 74 cases of TB disease reported in Connecticut, down from 83 cases in 2011.
TB, a potentially deadly disease, is transmitted through the air and is both treatable and preventable. It particularly affects persons from countries where TB incidence is high, persons who have HIV or other immune compromising conditions, and persons who have recently been exposed to someone with TB disease. People infected with TB can take medicine to prevent them from getting sick and potentially spreading TB to others.
“Despite the current low levels of disease, TB remains a public health concern and vigilance for TB needs to remain high for cases to continue to decrease,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Treatment is especially important for people at the highest risk for becoming sick with TB once infected. By treating these people before they get sick, TB can eventually be eliminated.”
Dr. Mullen said that public health efforts at the state and local level are critical to reducing the spread of TB and getting people infected with TB the treatment they need. 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 and treatment for infection among at risk persons.