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2002 News from Mecklenburg County
May 31, 2002

HEALTH DEPARTMENT, STATE AIM TO RAISE AWARENESS
DURING "MAKE NC TB-FREE" WEEK

Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department hopes a state proclamation will help generate more concern for tuberculosis prevention and treatment. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has declared June 2-8 "Make North Carolina TB Free" week.

The NC Division of Public Health says the purpose of dedicating an entire week to TB is to remind the public and the medical community that TB is not a disease of the past, but is avoidable, preventable and treatable.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a disease caused by bacteria that can attack any part of the body, but usually attacks the lungs. TB was once the leading cause of death in the United States.

It is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are released into the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

TB is treated with a number of different drugs and treatment may last for six months to a year or longer in instances of drug-resistant strains. Earlier this year, the Mecklenburg County Health Department's TB Control clinic was treating five patients with drug-resistant strains of TB.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department's TB Control Program offers screenings, diagnosis and treatment for tuberculosis. Walk-in patients are welcome on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Patients may also call the Health Department at 704-336-6500 for TB clinic operating hours and other services available.

In North Carolina, there were 398 cases of TB in 2001, 447 cases in 2000 and 488 in 1999.

The number of TB cases in foreign-born persons increased from 29% to 50%. Estimates are that as many as 50% of all TB cases in the U.S. will soon be in persons not born in this country. In 2001, nearly 38% of all TB cases in North Carolina were of foreign-born origin.

Check out the Mecklenburg County Health Department's Web site at http://www.meckhealth.org for more on TB statistics and comparative information from the state and the nation, or click this link: http://www.co.mecklenburg.nc.us/cohealth/epi/stats.htm .



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