March 24, 2009
State Public Health Director Announces Record Low in Illinois for New Tuberculosis Cases
World TB Day proclaimed in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In recognition of World Tuberculosis Day, Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health announced today a record low for the number of new tuberculosis cases in Illinois. Illinois is joining in the World Tuberculosis Day global campaign, “I Am Stopping TB” and Governor Pat Quinn has issued a proclamation declaring March 24, 2009 as World TB Day in Illinois to raise awareness that the fight against tuberculosis is not over.
“Tuberculosis is not a disease many of us think about anymore thanks to the wonderful advances in medicine and the hard work of public health staff,” said Dr. Arnold. “But TB is still impacting hundreds of people annually in Illinois and millions of people worldwide. I urge all citizens to increase their awareness and understanding of tuberculosis and to join the global effort to stop the spread of this disease.”
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. When tuberculosis attacks the lungs, symptoms can include a persistent cough that sometimes produces blood and chest pains.
In 2008, 469 cases of active tuberculosis were reported in Illinois, a decrease from 521 cases reported in 2007. However, reports show Illinois still ranks sixth for the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the nation.
Illinois is again following the national trend in that the majority of TB cases are among individuals who were born in foreign countries where TB is common, such as Mexico, India and the Philippines. In 2008, 60 percent of tuberculosis cases in Illinois were foreign-born, up from 59 percent the previous year.
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 at first, 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.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) focuses on finding tuberculosis cases and making sure they are treated promptly and completely. IDPH also looks for those who have had close contact and been exposed to someone with tuberculosis for treatment if they are infected, although not necessarily sick.
The Governor’s Proclamation follows:
of Public Health
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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