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World TB Day
Little Rock, Ark. – World TB Day is recognized each year on March 24 – the date in 1882 that Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the germ that causes tuberculosis (TB). The annual event raises awareness of TB, how it can be prevented and what is needed to get rid of the disease.
TB is caused by germs that can attack any part of the body, although it usually attacks the lungs. Not everyone infected becomes sick. There are two TB-related conditions: TB infection and TB disease. With TB disease, a person can pass the TB germ to others they spend a lot of time with through the air when they cough, sneeze, speak or sing. People with TB infection do not feel sick, do not have symptoms, and cannot spread it to others. But, they can be treated to reduce the risk of the TB germs becoming active.
Symptoms include chills, fever or sweating at night, a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, coughing up blood or mucus, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, and pain in the chest. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal TB is treatable, and people who have TB need to finish the medicine and take the drugs exactly as prescribed.
There are up to 13 million people estimated to be living with latent TB infection in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 8,916 reported TB cases in the United States, including Arkansas, in 2019.
Too many people still suffer from TB disease. To get rid of TB, people with TB disease need to be tested and treated to prevent its spread. Even people with latent TB infection need to be treated to prevent it from becoming an active disease. People should visit their local health unit or their primary care doctor if they experience symptoms of TB or have been in contact with someone else who has TB. The ADH TB Program supports TB control activities in Arkansas including the diagnosis and treatment of TB cases and contact investigations around infectious cases.
To learn more about TB, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.