FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 23, 2005) -- Governor Ernie Fletcher has proclaimed March as Tuberculosis Awareness Month for Kentucky in recognition of World TB Day on March 24.
“It’s important to call attention to the continuing threat of tuberculosis. Among infectious diseases, TB remains the second leading cause of adult deaths in the world,” said Governor Fletcher. “I’d also like to recognize Kentucky’s TB Program and its community partners at local health departments, hospitals and doctor’s offices who are working together to continue to reduce cases of TB in Kentucky.”
Kentucky reached an all-time low for tuberculosis (TB) cases in 2004, according to data reported to the Kentucky Department for Public Health. Statewide, 127 TB cases were reported or 3.1 cases per 100,000 Kentuckians. Kentucky ranks well below the national TB case rate of 5.1 per 100,000 people as well as below the state goal of reducing TB cases to 3.5 per 100,000. In 2003, the Kentucky Tuberculosis Control Program reported 138 cases compared to 146 reported cases in 2002.
The TB Program within DPH plans to continue its attempts to reduce the occurrence of TB and promote healthy behavior by: continued education and training for health care providers; active identification of populations at higher risk for TB, such as HIV-positive individuals; testing and reporting of specimens in the TB public health laboratory; continued TB surveillance; and a continued focus on completion of therapy for cases, and identification, evaluation and treatment of contacts.
Each year, government TB programs, non-governmental organizations and others around the world take advantage of the increased interest and awareness that World TB Day generates concerning the international health threat that TB presents. Since 1993, TB case rates have been declining, suggesting that the nation is recovering from a resurgence of TB that occurred in the mid-1980s, and is back on track to TB elimination.
However, efforts to control TB must continue because TB cases continue to be reported in every state, including drug-resistant TB cases, and an estimated 10 to 15 million people in the U.S. are infected with the bacterium that causes TB. Without intervention, about 10 percent of these people will develop TB disease at some point in life.
For more information on TB, visit the TB Program’s website or contact the TB Program at (502)564-4276 or via email at CHFSTB.Program@ky.gov.