Monday, 17 June 2024

World Tuberculosis Day observance planned this month

LAKE COUNTY – With World Tuberculosis Day set to be observed later this month, local health officials are sharing information about the disease and its prevention.

World Tuberculosis Day will take place on March 24.

Lake County Health Services is joining in the efforts of the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and California Department of Public Health to promote partnerships for tuberculosis elimination.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease that can be spread when people are sick with TB in their lungs.

A global health problem, it is estimated that 1.6 million people died from TB in 2005, according to a Monday report from Lake County Health Services. Although the greatest number of cases occur overseas in areas such as Africa and Southeast Asia, tuberculosis is also present in the United States.

Nationally, there has been a reduction in TB cases from a total of 84,304 in 1953 to a total of 13,299 in 2007.

In California, there were 2,725 cases, with the highest rates per population occurring in San Francisco, Imperial and Santa Clara counties.

Even though California has successfully reduced its number of cases of active tuberculosis disease in recent years, the trend toward further reductions has slowed.

Global travel, the presence of debilitating health conditions, and the development antibiotic resistance are all challenges to the control of tuberculosis.

Approximately three quarters of the TB cases in California are in foreign-born persons from countries where tuberculosis is more common.

Health conditions that break down the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or treatment with immune-suppressing drugs, can lead to activation of disease. Development of antibiotic resistant strains of TB makes treatment more difficult.

Overall, 11 percent of California TB infections were resistant to the most commonly used anti-tuberculosis drug in 2007. Smaller percentages, generally around 1 percent, were resistant to other drugs commonly used in the treatment of TB.

Other challenges to controlling tuberculosis center on the need to treat it with multiple antibiotics (as many as four to six, depending on circumstances) for many months (six months minimum and sometimes more than 24 to 36 months). Preventive treatment of latent TB usually only requires one antibiotic drug, but it must still be taken for six to nine months.

Lake County had only one active case in 2007, ranking 34 out of a list of 45 of California’s reporting jurisdictions, Lake County Health Services reported.

Local health officials said Lake County’s low numbers should not lead to complacency. It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to prevent active tuberculosis.

Many people who come into contact with tuberculosis in the course of their lives develop a latent form of infection – they are neither sick nor infectious to others. However, over time or if their general health status deteriorates, the latent infection can turn into an active and contagious infection.

Keeping tuberculosis out of the community involves screening people who might be at risk for it, and treatment with anti-tuberculosis medication to reduce the chance of it causing illness in the future.

When an active case does occur, vigorous tracking down of contacts and appropriate treatment of them is essential. In the treatment of active tuberculosis disease, Public Health professionals often administer and observe patients taking each dose of treatment to assure that the full course of treatment is completed.

Throughout the year, Lake County’s Public Health Department works with local health professionals and other partners to assure that this important work is done.

If you would like more information about tuberculosis, please visit or

For assistance with tuberculosis questions in Lake County, call Lake County Health Services at 263-1090.


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