World TB Day on March 24, 2017 celebrates an opportunity to raise awareness about the burden of tuberculosis (TB) worldwide and the status of TB prevention and care efforts. This year, Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) encourages residents to learn more about TB infection, get tested, and challenge the public to unite together to end TB.
Most commonly affecting the lungs, TB can be fatal if left untreated, and can also attack the kidneys, spine and brain of the infected person. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2015, making it the leading infectious killer worldwide.
While anyone can contract TB, the disease thrives among people living in poverty, communities and groups that are marginalized, and other vulnerable populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 324 new cases of tuberculosis were reported in Georgia alone in 2015, the most recent year of report, and that Georgia now ranks 7th in the nation for TB incidence.
According to Phyllistine Gardner, CDPH district tuberculosis coordinator, the rate of infected residents has been steadily increasing despite her team’s success in identifying and treating persons affected by TB.
“Identifying, evaluating and treating tuberculosis requires a very specific skill set and knowledge base, both of which we have here at Cobb & Douglas Public Health,” said Gardner. “TB symptoms are often mistaken for pneumonia, but we want residents to know that we have the vital resources needed to conquer this disease. We will make arrangements for our residents any way we can.”
Residents of Cobb and Douglas, or surrounding counties can call (770) 514-2362 for more information about tuberculosis, getting tested and starting no-cost treatment, or visit www.cobbanddouglaspublichealth.org.