World TB Day, March 24
Working for a TB-Free US
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 23, 2018
LAS VEGAS – “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free United States. We can make history. End TB” is this year’s theme for World TB Day, commemorated every March 24. It is the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced he identified M. tuberculosis, the bacterium responsible for the disease.
As the date approaches, there is good news and bad news regarding TB. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 9,272 TB cases in the United States in 2016, a decrease from 2015 and the lowest case count on record. In Clark County, there were 62 cases in 2017, an increase from 46 cases in 2016.
The CDC estimates that there are 13 million people in the United States with latent TB infection – people who have been infected with the bacterium but who are not sick. Without treatment, the CDC says that between 5 percent and 10 percent of these individuals could go on to develop active TB disease, which means they could become sick and infectious. Public health practitioners, health care providers, and other partners work to make ending TB a reality.
“TB is not eradicated in the world or in the United States. While we are seeing a decrease nationwide, which is good news, we do still see people coming down with TB,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Southern Nevada Health District Chief Health Officer. “Our contact investigations begin when a sick individual is diagnosed with an active case of TB. I want to encourage our local health care providers to consider TB when they have patients who have a lingering cough or other symptoms that can be consistent with TB. The sooner TB is identified, the sooner treatment can begin, and the fewer people will be exposed. The quicker our health care providers ‘think TB,’ the quicker we can ‘End TB.’”
As the leading provider of TB services in Southern Nevada, the Health District’s Tuberculosis Treatment and Control Clinic offers programs to ensure people with active TB disease are treated and that people who are exposed to TB are evaluated and treated, if appropriate, to prevent the further spread of the disease. In addition to testing and treatment, staff members provide specialized case management services to assure that patients with active and suspect TB disease receive individualized patient care. Directly observed therapy (DOT) is the standard of care to promote adherence to and completion of TB treatment, and it is offered to active and suspect TB patients.
The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info.