World TB Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about
TB-related problems and solutions and to support worldwide
"Although Illinois experienced a record-low number of new
tuberculosis cases during 2012, the increase in cases worldwide can
mean more cases here," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the
Illinois Department of Public Health. "It is important to raise
awareness of TB and for people to know how the disease is spread,
what the symptoms are and how to treat it. Educating yourself about
tuberculosis and raising awareness in others will help stop the
spread of TB."
Tuberculosis is a contagious and potentially life-threatening
disease that is transmitted from person to person through the air
when a person with active TB coughs or sneezes. People with the
disease are most likely to spread the germs to people they spend
time with every day, such as family members or co-workers. If you
have been around someone who has TB disease, you should go to your
doctor or your local health department for tests.
While TB can affect any part of the body, such as the brain,
kidneys or spine, tuberculosis usually affects the lungs. General
symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
When tuberculosis attacks the lungs, symptoms can include a
persistent cough that sometimes produces blood and chest pains.
TB disease can be treated by taking several drugs for six to 12
months. It is very important for people who have the disease to
finish the medicine and take the drugs exactly as prescribed. Many
patients comply with the strict drug regimen at first, but some stop
taking their anti-TB medication after they start to feel better.
Failure to follow the therapy for the full length of time prescribed
may allow the tuberculosis to return. In some cases, the
re-established infection cannot be treated with the usual
antibiotics. TB that is resistant to drugs is harder and more
expensive to treat.
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In 2012, 347 cases of active tuberculosis were reported in
Illinois, a decrease from 359 cases reported in 2011. The record-low
number of cases in Illinois can largely be attributed to Directly
Observed Therapy, a program to make sure those with TB complete
their full medication regimen. Therapy often involves health
department staff meeting regularly with patients who have TB to
watch them take their medications. The lower number of cases of TB
in Illinois is also due to local health departments working with the
state health department to identify those who have had close and
extended contact with someone with TB, and treating appropriate
cases for latent tuberculosis infection.
Following the national trend, the majority of TB cases in
Illinois are among individuals who were born in foreign countries
where TB is common, such as Mexico, India and the Philippines. In
2012, 69 percent of tuberculosis cases in Illinois were among people
born in foreign countries.
Efforts to end TB include developing new treatments, increasing
the capacity of health professionals to provide treatment and
issuing new recommendations for improved testing for U.S.
While great strides have been made to control and cure TB, this
disease is still a problem in many parts of the world, including the
To learn more about how tuberculosis is spread, the symptoms and
how to treat it, visit
A webcast hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention on Friday afternoon highlighted personal stories from TB
patients, provisional 2012 TB surveillance data and the burden of TB
in the United States. The webcast will be archived for future
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]