March 24, 2010
Media Release

York Region recognizes World Tuberculosis Day on March 24th


NEWMARKET ??" The Regional Municipality of York today recognizes World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, the annual event that commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the M. tuberculosis bacteria that causes TB. 
 
TB has been found in mammoth bones and Egyptian mummies and has affected mankind since its appearance despite efforts to control and eliminate it.  Even with recent progress in managing and treating TB, it remains an important public health issue.  In Canada, almost 1,600 new cases of TB are reported each year.  Challenges such as drug resistant TB and TB-HIV co-infection threaten to undermine TB control efforts worldwide.
 
York Region Community and Health Services has an important role in protecting the health of local residents from widespread TB.  Specifically, the local health unit is responsible for:
• Working in conjunction with other local health care providers to ensure timely identification, assessment and case management of active cases
• Providing TB medication at no cost to all persons with TB disease and infection
• Managing persons who have TB disease through the Daily Observed Therapy (DOT) Program
• Identifying, assessing and ensuring the testing of contacts of cases of TB
• Educating health care providers and the public concerning TB
 
In 2009, the accomplishments of the TB Control Unit in York Region included the following:
• Conducted over 83 case investigations for suspect and confirmed cases of TB
• Provided case management for over 47 new cases of TB
• Notified 541 contacts of TB cases for testing
• Provided medication for over 255 persons with latent TB infection
• Conducted five workplace screenings and tested 132 contacts
• Participated in health promotion activities that included displays, a media interview and community presentations

TB has existed for centuries and used to be called "consumption".  It is a serious disease that usually attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, kidneys, urinary tract and bones.  The bacteria that causes TB is spread through the air when someone with active TB disease of the lungs or airways coughs, sneezes or sings.  To become infected, a person usually has to spend many hours with someone who has TB disease.
The symptoms of TB disease in the lungs can include a bad cough lasting longer than three weeks, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, weakness or feeling very tired, weight loss, lack of appetite, chills, fever and night sweats.  Despite its severity, TB is completely curable with antibiotics.
For more information on TB or any other health-related topic, contact York Region Health Connection
at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 / After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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