Baltimore, MD (March 22, 2011) - The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's (DHMH) Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration (IDEHA) will observe World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24. This year's theme is "TB Elimination: Together We Can!" DHMH joins the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health agencies' in recognizing World TB Day and worldwide efforts to end the spread of TB.
"TB still threatens many Marylanders," said DHMH Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D. "People with HIV, U.S. born African-Americans, new immigrants and refugees are at higher risk."
The WHO estimates that approximately one-third of the global population has TB. Approximately 2 million people die each year from TB around the world. During 2010, there were 220 new cases of tuberculosis diagnosed in Maryland.
Of the 220 Maryland cases, 68% occurred in persons born outside the U.S. However, of the 70 U.S. born cases, more than 60% occurred in African-Americans and 12% of these individuals were HIV-positive.
"TB can be spread by coughing, sneezing, speaking and singing," said Heather Hauck, Director of IDEHA. Individuals who test positive for TB infection should discuss treatment with their health care provider. "Treatment of latent TB infection will prevent the development of active TB disease."
Individuals infected with TB are reminded to get tested for HIV, as a person infected with both HIV and TB can rapidly develop active TB disease.
For additional information about TB testing, treatment and support services, contact DHMH's Center for TB Control and Prevention at 410-767-6698 or you local health department, or visit http://eh.dhmh.md.gov/ideah/.