|March 24, 2003||ILLINOIS TUBERCULOSIS CASES 1990 - 2002|
ILLINOIS TUBERCULOSIS CASES AT RECORD LOW
SPRINGFIELD, IL The number of tuberculosis cases reported in Illinois in 2002 fell to an all-time low for the sixth consecutive year, the Illinois Department of Public Health today reported.
There were 680 cases reported in the state last year the lowest number ever recorded in Illinois. The previous record low was 707 cases in 2001.
During the past decade, cases in Illinois have fallen steadily except for 1996 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.
The city of Chicago accounted for 382 cases of tuberculosis in 2002, up from 378 in 2001 and down from 403 in 2000. In Cook County, including Chicago, and the five collar counties (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will), there were 601 cases in 2002 compared to 617 in 2001 and 657 in 2000.
Tuberculosis cases among individuals living in Illinois but who were born in foreign countries increased slightly in 2002 to 263 from 261 in 2001.
Tuberculosis is a 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 for the full length of time prescribed may allow the tuberculosis to return. In some cases, the re-established infection cannot be treated with the usual antibiotics.
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 much of the credit for reducing the number of cases.
The number of tuberculosis cases in the state for the last 10 years are 1993, 1,235; 1994, 1,101; 1995, 1,024; 1996, 1,060, 1997, 974; 1998, 850; 1999, 825; 2000, 743; 2001, 707; and 2002, 680.
Illinois' numbers were released today in conjunction with World TB Day, an annual event that commemorates the date when the tuberculosis bacillus was discovered.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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