|March 24, 2004||Tuberculosis Statistics, 1990 -
Tuberculosis Statistics, 2000 - 2003
TUBERCULOSIS CASES DROP FOR SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The number of tuberculosis cases reported in Illinois has been cut nearly in half during the past decade and in 2003 reached an all-time low for the seventh consecutive year, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced.
There were 633 cases reported in the state last year, down from the previous record low of 680 in 2002.
"The decline is encouraging, but this is not the time to become complacent," Dr. Whitaker said. "The vigilance by the public health and medical communities is the reason why the numbers are down, but tuberculosis remains a significant health threat. We must maintain the ongoing efforts to identify and treat people with infectious tuberculosis."
During the past decade, cases in Illinois have fallen 43 percent. Caseloads dropped below 1,000 for the first time in 1997 (974) and record lows have been reported each year since.
There also has been a decline in the number of deaths due to tuberculosis. In 2001, the most recent year for complete death statistics, there were 29 deaths, down from 47 deaths in 2000.
The city of Chicago accounted for 339 cases of tuberculosis in 2003, down from 382 in 2002 and 378 in 2001. In Cook County, including Chicago, and the five collar counties (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will), there were 581 cases in 2003 compared to 601 cases in 2002 and 617 in 2001.
While tuberculosis cases fell for U.S.-born persons, TB cases among foreign-born persons remained disproportionately high and increased slightly in 2003 to 271 from 263 in 2002. More than 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.
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 1994, 1,101; 1995, 1,024; 1996, 1,060, 1997, 974; 1998, 850; 1999, 825; 2000, 743; 2001, 707; 2002, 680; and 2003, 633.
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
Questions or Comments