|May 3, 2001||Illinois
Tuberculosis Cases by County, 1990-2000
TUBERCULOSIS CASES AT RECORD LOW
SPRINGFIELD, IL Tuberculosis cases in Illinois have dropped by more than 40 percent since 1992, including a nearly 10 percent decrease in 2000 alone, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced.
The 743 cases diagnosed in the state last year were an all-time low and represent a 42 percent decline from the 1,270 cases reported in 1992. There were 825 cases reported in 1999.
"Our current success in controlling tuberculosis is encouraging, but the public health community must remain vigilant," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Just 20 years ago, the country prematurely believed the disease was no longer a threat. As funding for prevention and treatment strategies was reduced, we experienced a frightening resurgence of the disease in the late 1980s and early 1990s that we have only recently been able to reverse."
Over the last three decades in Illinois, there has been a general decline in the number of reported tuberculosis cases with episodic increases in the mid-1970s, early 1980s and, most recently, in the early 1990s. Since 1992, the incidence of tuberculosis has shown a steady decline, with cases falling below 1,000 for the first time in 1997 (974).
In 1917, the earliest year for which complete tuberculosis numbers are available, there were nearly 24,000 cases of the disease and more than 8,000 deaths. In 1998, the most recent year for complete death statistics, there were 59 deaths attributed to tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis is a contagious and potentially life-threatening disease that is transmitted from person to person through the air. While it can affect any part of the body, such as the brain, kidneys or spine, tuberculosis usually affects the lungs. General symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats, and, when it attacks the lungs, a persistent cough, sometimes producing blood and chest pains.
Tuberculosis is usually curable, but a person with the disease must faithfully adhere to prescribed drug therapy for six months or longer. Many patients comply with the strict drug regimen, but some stop taking their anti-TB medication after they start to feel better. Failure to follow the therapy may allow the tuberculosis to return. In some cases, the re-established infection cannot be treated with the usual anti-TB medication.
A successful strategy used by local health departments to combat the disease has been "directly observed therapy," in which public health workers watch tuberculosis patients take the required antibiotics. This labor-intensive practice has received credit for helping to reduce the number of cases.
There were 403 cases of tuberculosis reported in the city of Chicago in 2000, down from 463 the previous year. In Cook County, including Chicago, and the five collar counties (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will), there were 657 cases in 2000 compared with 710 in 1999.
Tuberculosis cases among individuals living in Illinois but who were born in foreign countries decreased slightly in 2000 to 252 from 255 in 1999.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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