The North Dakota Department of Health is observing World TB Day on March 24, by taking the opportunity to raise awareness about TB-related problems and solutions and to support worldwide TB control efforts. The theme for the 2013 observance is “Stop TB in My Lifetime.”
“North Dakota has been working hard with our partners to stop TB in our state, but we have a long way to go,” said Dee Pritschet, with the North Dakota Department of Health’s Division of Disease Control. “The recent outbreak in the Grand Forks area highlights the importance of TB control and prevention activities and service as a reminder that diseases like TB still exist and can greatly impact a community.”
Despite the continued decline in the tuberculosis (TB) cases and rates in the Unites States since 1993, the 2012 rate of 3.17 per 100,000 population has not achieved the 2010 goal of TB elimination (less than one case per 1,000,000) established in 1989. Although TB cases and rates decreased in 2012, foreign-born and U.S. born racial/ethnic minorities continue to be affected disproportionately. Between 2007 and 2011, there were 34 cases of TB disease reported in North Dakota. The number of annual TB cases ranged from three to 12, resulting in incidence rates between 0.5 and 1.8 per 100,000. In 2012, there were 26 cases and the rate increased to 3.7 due in part largely to the TB outbreak in Grand Forks County.
The North Dakota Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is committed to a world free of TB. Progress toward TB elimination in the United States will require ongoing surveillance and improved TB control and prevention activities. Sustained focus on domestic TB control activities and further support of international TB control initiatives are needed to address persistent disparities between whites and nonwhites and between U.S.-born and foreign-born populations.
People all over the world, from the youngest to the oldest, are encourage to make an individual call for the elimination of TB, and say what changes they expect to take place in their lifetimes.
In their lifetimes, today’s children should expect to see a world where no one gets sick with TB. With continued research, hopefully one day an effective vaccine can be made available for all countries to immunize their children and reduce the number of active TB cases and the number of deaths related to TB. Everyone has a role to play so that one day TB will be eliminated.
For information about tuberculosis, call the North Dakota Department of Health at 800.472.2180 or visit the TB program website at www.ndhealth.gov/disease/tb.