World TB Day: “Unite to End” Tuberculosis

DHEC joins local, state, national and global efforts to control and eliminate tuberculosis by observing World Tuberculosis Day on today, March 24, 2017. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB).

The purpose is to work together and celebrate the efforts of people all over the world that have found new ways to stop tuberculosis.

South Carolina TB rates below national average

Through increased awareness, prevention efforts, public health interventions, improved methods for early diagnosis, and assuring completion of treatment the number of TB cases in South Carolina has consistently remained below the national average for the six-year period covering 2011-2016.

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TB is preventable, treatable, and curable

Tuberculosis is a disease of the lungs, but it can affect other parts of the body. Persons with TB of the lungs can spread TB to other people by coughing, sneezing or speaking. Untreated active tuberculosis is a serious public health threat.

TB is treatable and preventable.  You can play an important role in eliminating tuberculosis in our community by understanding the signs and symptoms and helping to educate others.

The general signs and symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The signs and symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood. The signs and symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.

People with TB disease are most likely to spread the germs to people they spend time with every day, such as family members or coworkers. If you have been around someone who has TB disease, you should go see your family doctor, or call the public health department and ask to speak to a TB nurse.

World TB Day efforts

DHEC TB Control is focusing on three groups to commemorate World TB Day: the community, community partners, and public health professionals. The following activities are scheduled for World TB Day:

  • Community – The TB Control webpages have been updated with information regarding tuberculosis education, resources and activities in the community. For more information on TB and other public health issues, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SCDHEC.
  • Community Partners – The second component of the initiative is partnering with various public health agencies representing HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, psycho-social issues, substance abuse and other illnesses to distribute information to the clients they serve. There are 31 external and three internal partners participating.
  • Public Health Professionals – Dr. Eric Brenner will give a public lecture titled, Tuberculosis: Local, National, and Global Public Health Perspectives from Noon to 1 p.m. in Room 331 of the Discovery Building, located at 915 Greene St. on the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus. The lecture will focus on TB from the complementary perspectives of biology and medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, health services and policy, health promotion and education, environmental health, exercise science, and national and global public health.

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