NH DHHS Recognizes World TB Day

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services recognizes World Tuberculosis

Day, sponsored by the Stop TB Partnership, which aims to eliminate

tuberculosis worldwide. World TB Day is held on March 24th, commemorating

the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB. The goal of World

TB Day is to raise awareness of the disease and work toward elimination of

TB disease and infection.

There were 9 cases of tuberculosis (TB) identified in New Hampshire in

2012, the most recent year data are available. A total of 10,528 TB cases

(which translates to a rate of 3.4 TB cases per 100,000 persons) were

reported in the United States in 2011. Both the number of TB cases reported

and the case rate decreased; compared with 2010, these numbers represent a

5.8% and 6.4% decline, respectively. In 2011, the percentage of TB cases

that were diagnosed in foreign-born persons increased to 62% of the

national case total. Despite the overall decline in numbers, cases of this

treatable disease continue to be diagnosed in the United States and public

health officials are concerned that there is not enough progress being made

toward elimination.

“Although tuberculosis is sometimes a difficult disease to diagnose and can

cause very serious symptoms,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public

Health at DHHS, “it is treatable and relatively difficult to catch. About

one-third of the world’s population is infected with the Mycobacterium

tuberculosis bacterium. The fact that case numbers are declining in the

U.S. makes us vulnerable to complacency and neglect, but there is more we

can do to help stop the spread of this disease and one of the most

important steps is education.”

TB is most often spread when an infected person coughs and the bacteria

become airborne. Symptoms of TB can vary but the most common ones include a

cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks and coughing up blood or phlegm.

People may also experience weakness or fatigue, weight loss, loss of

appetite, chills, fever, and/or night sweats. Tuberculosis usually affects

the lungs but can also attack any part of the body.

For more information about TB, visit www.cdc.gov/tb , the NH Department of

Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov , the Stop TB

Partnership at www.stoptb.org , or Breathe New Hampshire at

www.breathenh.org . For questions about tuberculosis and reporting

requirements, call the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at