The Indiana Department of Health will host a virtual educational event to mark World TB Day on March 24. The event is free and will cover topics including latent tuberculosis (TB) infection treatment guidelines, a history of TB in Indiana and TB survivor stories.
“TB is preventable and curable, and knowing the signs and symptoms of this serious and sometimes fatal disease is critical to ending TB in Indiana and the United States,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Testing for and treating latent TB infection to prevent it from progressing to TB disease is also vital to turning TB elimination into a reality.”
In 2020, Indiana had 92 cases of TB disease, which was a decrease of 15 percent compared to 2019. Nine individuals died in Indiana from TB during 2020.
TB is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which primarily affect the lungs but can affect other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and spine. TB bacteria are released into the air whenever someone with infectious TB sneezes, coughs, talks or sings. Once inhaled by someone else, the bacteria can be inactive, or they can settle in the lungs and begin to grow.
Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
Approximately 10 percent of individuals infected with TB bacteria will develop TB disease at some point in their lifetime. Symptoms of TB disease include a bad cough lasting three weeks or longer, coughing up blood, chest pain, fatigue or weakness, fever, weight and appetite loss, sweating at night and chills.
Go to www.eventbrite.com and search for “World TB Day” to learn more about the state Department of Health’s World TB Day virtual event and to register.