ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 17, 2016) — The Minnesota Department of Health is acknowledging World TB Day, which is health every March 24, to raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB), a deadly disease cause by a bacteria (germ) that is spread through the air when someone sick with TB in their lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. A person breathing in air containing the droplets of bacteria can become infected without knowing it.
There are two phases of TB: latent TB infection and active TB disease. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick. The TB germs are in the body, but they are contained by the body’s immune system. At some point in the future, they may escape the immune system and make the person very sick. When someone becomes sick from TB, it is called active TB disease. People with active TB disease may spread the TB germs to others. The good news is that TB can be cured with medication.
The World Health Organization estimates that one of every three people in the world is infected with the TB bacteria. Most do not know that they are infected. There are tests that can help determine if someone is infected with TB, and medication is available that can kill the TB before it can make a person sick. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about being tested and treated for TB, especially if you have visited or lived in a country where TB is very common. Together we can end TB.
It is a day to raise awareness about tuberculosis, a deadly disease that continues to affect millions of people around the world. To learn more about TB, visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/tb/worldtbday.html.