News Release

This is a joint news release issued by HDHHS and by Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services

March 23, 2005

World TB Day

World TB Day, held on March 24th each year, is a global event aimed at raising awareness about the threat tuberculosis (TB) continues to present and to increase support for the elimination of TB. March 24th also commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the organism that causes tuberculosis.

Although this disease can be cured with proper medical care, TB remains the second leading killer of adults worldwide.

Many people think that tuberculosis is a disease of the past – an illness that no longer threatens us today. One reason for this belief is that the rate of TB infection is declining in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overall, the rate of TB disease has steadily decreased nationwide since 1953.

However, between 1985 and 1992, cases of TB in the United States increased due to such factors as the onset of the HIV epidemic, increases of TB cases among foreign-born persons, and the appearance and transmission of deadly multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB strains. Since 1992, the trend is reversing. The reduction is attributed to more effective TB-control programs that emphasize prompt identification of appropriate therapy, and efforts to assure that therapy will be completed.

In 2004, there were 476 cases of TB within the Harris County community. Of these, Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) reported 345 cases of tuberculosis within the city limits and Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) reported 131 cases of tuberculosis in the county.

HCPHES and HDHHS TB Control Programs offer a multitude of important frontline support services in the fight against TB such as:

  • TB Chest Clinic Appointments
  • Case Management of patients with TB
  • Management of contacts to a TB case or suspected case
  • Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) and Directly Observed Preventive Therapy (DOPT)
  • Management of Multidrug-Resistant (MDR) TB
  • Assistance with obtaining expert consultation services

While advancements have been made, the need for continued vigilance is crucial to aid in the elimination of TB. The important collaborative relationship established between public health and private health care providers ensures important and timely identification, treatment and follow up of patients with tuberculosis in the Harris County community.

To obtain more information on TB services, call 713-794-9999 (HDHHS) or call 713-439-6214 (HCPHES).

For additional information on tuberculosis, please visit www.harriscountyhealth.com or www.houstonhealth.org.

To learn more about tuberculosis worldwide, visit www.cdc.gov or www.stoptb.org.

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