|March 25, 2002||Tuberculosis Cases by Illinois County,
1990 - 2001
TUBERCULOSIS CASES FALL FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT YEAR
SPRINGFIELD, IL The number of tuberculosis cases in Illinois has been trimmed nearly in half during the past decade and in 2001 fell to an all-time low for the fifth consecutive year, the Illinois Department of Public Health today reported.
The 707 cases diagnosed in the state last year represent the lowest number ever recorded in Illinois and a 44 percent decline from the 1,270 cases reported in 1992. The previous record low was 743 cases in 2000.
"This downward spiral in cases highlights the effectiveness of aggressive tuberculosis control programs at the federal, state and local health department levels," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Despite the progress that has been made, tuberculosis remains a significant health threat. It is imperative that we remain vigilant and maintain the ongoing efforts to better identify and treat people with infectious tuberculosis."
During the past decade, cases in Illinois have steadily fallen except for1996 when there was a slight increase. Caseloads dropped below 1,000 for the first time in 1997 (974) and record lows have been reported each year since.
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 2000, the most recent year for complete death statistics, there were 47 deaths attributed to tuberculosis.
There were 378 cases of tuberculosis reported in the city of Chicago in 2001, down from 403 in 2000 and 463 in 1999. In Cook County, including Chicago, and the five collar counties (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will), there were 617 cases in 2000 compared with 657 in 2000 and 710 in 1999.
Nearly 40 percent of the cases reported in Illinois are among individuals who were born in foreign countries where tuberculosis is common, such as Mexico, India and the Philippines. The number of foreign-born cases increased slightly in 2001 to 261 from 252 in 2000.
Tuberculosis is contagious and potentially life-threatening disease that is transmitted from person to person by tiny airborne particles of bacteria. 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 can be resistant to available drugs. Multi drug-resistant strains are difficult to treat and can be fatal.
A proven strategy used by local health departments to combat the disease has been "directly observed therapy," in which public health workers monitor tuberculosis patients to ensure they take the correct drugs consistently and appropriately. This labor-intensive practice has received credit for helping to reduce the number of cases.
The number of tuberculosis cases in the state for the last 10 years are 1992, 1,270; 1993, 1,235; 1994, 1,101; 1995, 1,024; 1996, 1,060; 1997, 974; 1998, 850; 1999, 825; 2000, 743; and 2001, 707.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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