March 21, 2011
Media Release

York Region is on the move against tuberculosis

March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York joins communities across the world in recognizing World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24.  The annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the M.tuberculosis bacteria, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.  This year’s theme, On the Move Against Tuberculosis, aims to inspire innovation in TB research and care.
 
Tuberculosis is an important public health issue.  In Canada, almost 1,600 new cases of TB are reported each year.  In York Region, the local health unit works to minimize the impact and spread of TB in our communities by:
• Working 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 about TB
 
In 2010, the TB Control Program accomplished the following:
• Conducted over 72 case investigations for suspect and confirmed cases of TB
• Provided case management for over 59 new cases of TB
• Notified 748 contacts of TB cases for testing
• Provided medication for over 367 persons with latent TB infection
• Conducted seven workplace screenings for 528 contacts
• Participated in health promotion activities that included displays, media interviews and community presentations
 
TB has existed for centuries and used to be called "consumption."  It has even been found in mammoth bones and in Egyptian mummies.  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.
 
Updated information about TB is available on the York Region website.  Information for the public and health care community is available in different languages.  There are also links to national and international TB resources and campaigns.
 
For more information on TB or any other public health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
 
For more information on World Tuberculosis Day, please visit www.stopthetb.org
 
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 or After-hours Cell: 905-716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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