Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recognizes World Tuberculosis Day, sponsored by the Stop TB Partnership, which aims to eliminate tuberculosis in the world. Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which, contrary to popular belief, can attack any part of the body, but usually shows up in the lungs. TB is most often spread when an infected person coughs and the bacteria become airborne.
There were 19 identified cases of TB in New Hampshire in 2008. In the United States, there were 12,898 in the same year. In 2007, the U.S. reported a rate of 4.2 cases per 100,000 population, the lowest rate since reporting began in 1953. However, despite this good news, the rate at which the number of cases in the U.S. is decreasing every year is slowing so there is concern that there is not enough progress being made. “Many people may think of tuberculosis as an old-time disease or a disease that is only seen in other countries but unfortunately that is not the case,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “It is important for people to be aware of this disease, but to know that it is treatable.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recently released a report about U.S. trends in tuberculosis. For more information about TB, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr , the NH Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov , the Stop BT Partnership at www.stoptb.org or Breathe New Hampshire at www.breathenh.org .