TB cases down slightly, but health officials still concerned
There were 193 reported cases of TB in Washington last year, a decline from 209 cases in 2013. The state recorded three TB deaths in 2014.
After HIV/AIDS, TB is the second-most infectious killer in the world. Usual symptoms include night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, a persistent cough and fever, though some patients don’t show any symptoms. Elderly people, young children and individuals with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for contracting the airborne illness. A crucial element to surviving TB is to receive proper medical attention and antibiotics early in the illness.
Health leaders have stated that they are working to eliminate TB, but these elimination strategies must be tailored to reflect the diversity of the affected populations.
Tuesday marks another anniversary of World TB Day. Health professionals will gather at an educational event hosted by the Washington Department of Health to exchange information about how TB impacts local communities, discuss the obstacles that TB patients face, and create better education for patients about drug and vaccine options.
“Tuberculosis remains a disease of concern internationally and in Washington,” State Communicable Disease Epidemiologist Scott Lindquist said. “TB can be diagnosed, treated and cured, yet it takes real commitment and effort to effectively deal with this disease.”