Active cases of tuberculosis aren’t decreasing as much as previous years, raising concerns that the disease may level off in Contra Costa County, according to an epidemiology report released today to commemorate World TB Day on March 24. There were 55 cases in 2012, which is comparable to the annual average of 54 cases during the five years 2007-2011. A robust surveillance effort coupled with ongoing case management steadily brought the number down to 50 in 2006 from a high of 105 in 2001. Tuberculosis Program Medical Director Dr. Charlie Crane said that in order to reduce the number of active tuberculosis cases, it is critical for people with tuberculosis symptoms to seek care early, and for doctors to promptly diagnose the disease. To view Contra Costa’s epidemiology report, visit www.cchealth.org/tb/
Tuberculosis is an airborne bacterial disease that generally attacks the lungs. The bacteria can sit dormant in a person’s body for months or years before becoming active, potentially causing the person to become contagious or seriously ill. Tuberculosis usually begins with a persistent cough that can last weeks or longer, eventually accompanied by unintentional weight loss, fever and night sweats.
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