World Tuberculosis Day highlights the importance of prevention and treatment in Erie County
On Friday, March 24, 2023, the world observes World Tuberculosis Day, which is an opportunity to raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB) and the efforts being made to eradicate the disease. Erie County is not immune to the challenges of TB and continues to work towards achieving the goal of ending this disease.
Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs but can also impact other parts of the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TB remains a major public health concern worldwide, causing significant illness and death. Historically, TB has been a public health concern in Erie County, dating back to the 19th century. During this time, TB was known as the "white plague" and was a leading cause of death in the region. Improved public health practices and medical advancements have played a significant role in reducing the threat of TB in Erie County. Additionally, increased public awareness and access to healthcare have contributed to the decline of TB cases in the region.
In recent years, Erie County has seen a decline in TB cases. According to the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH), there were 10 reported cases of TB in Erie County in 2022, a decrease from the 14 cases reported in 2021. While TB remains a public health concern, the efforts made locally to prevent and control the disease have been successful in reducing its impact in the community.
ECDOH offers testing and treatment services for TB at its TB Clinic at the Jesse Nash Health Center in Buffalo. Appointments are required. Please call (716) 858-2172 to schedule an appointment.
The county is urging individuals who may be at higher risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) to get tested. Those with weakened immune systems, such as individuals living with HIV, malnutrition, or diabetes, are more susceptible to TB. Also, people who live or work in environments with a high prevalence of TB, such as healthcare workers, incarcerated individuals and individuals experiencing homelessness are at increased risk. Individuals who have had contact with TB patients or those residing in unhygienic and crowded conditions should consider getting tested. Other factors that may increase the risk of TB include smoking and substance use. Early diagnosis and treatment of TB are essential to prevent its spread and reduce the risk of serious health complications.
By Latrell Coddett, Public Health Fellow