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March 24th is World Tuberculosis (TB) Day: Helping Stop the Spread

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Perth County – World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is on March 24th. The day marks the discovery of the tuberculosis bacteria by Dr. Robert Koch in 1882. The theme this year is: “Wanted: Leaders for a Tuberculosis-free World.” The aim of World Tuberculosis Day is to raise awareness about the health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis and to step up efforts to end the global Tuberculosis epidemic.

Despite significant progress over the last decades, Tuberculosis continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, there were 1.8 million Tuberculosis deaths worldwide in 2016.

The emergence of multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis is also posing a major health and security threat.

Tuberculosis in Perth County

While Tuberculosis is more of a concern in low- and middle-income countries, the disease still exists in Canada. There have been fewer than five cases of active Tuberculosis infection over the past five years in Perth County. However, every year there are residents who are diagnosed with latent Tuberculosis infection and receive treatment. Latent Tuberculosis infection is when someone is infected with tuberculosis, but they are not yet sick or capable of spreading it from person-to-person.

“It is important to know the symptoms of tuberculosis and how to minimize risk,” says CarolAnn McMann, Public Health Nurse. “If you have been in contact with someone who has Tuberculosis, or if you have had a cough that has lasted longer than three weeks with fever, night sweats and weight loss, you may need a Tuberculosis skin test or chest x-ray.”

A Tuberculosis skin test is used to find out if you have tuberculosis infection. You can get a skin test at the Perth District Health Unit or at your doctor’s office. The Health Unit provides free Tuberculosis skin tests for medical screening or post-secondary purposes.

“We can help to eliminate tuberculosis by treating people with either latent tuberculosis infection or active tuberculosis disease,” says McMann. “It’s important to have a Tuberculosis skin test if you are someone who could be at risk for getting tuberculosis.”

Anyone requiring treatment for Tuberculosis can receive their medications free of charge from the Health Unit.