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Home News World Tuberculosis Day raises awareness of this deadly disease
David Barre
(505) 699-9237 Office

World Tuberculosis Day raises awareness of this deadly disease

SANTA FE – Friday, March 23, 2023 is World Tuberculosis Day and the Department of Health (DOH) is highlighting the importance of testing, diagnosing and treating tuberculosis (TB) using the resources available to combat this deadly disease. In 2021 over 10.6 million people worldwide contracted TB and 1.6 million people died from it. 
No one has died of TB in New Mexico recently, but there were 24 patients diagnosed of active Tuberculosis (TB) in 2021. Additionally, there were 347 cases of latent TB infections (LTBI), where the patient does not feel sick and cannot spread the disease to others. However, if LBTI is left untreated, it can develop into active TB disease which can lead to serious illness and even death. 
The New Mexico DOH TB program provides treatment and nurse case management of all active TB cases in New Mexico. Any provider who is treating LBTI can call the DOH for consultation. 
“Eliminating TB relies on the dedicated efforts of clinicians, health care agencies, and community organizations, especially those aiding vulnerable populations,” emphasized DOH Deputy Secretary Dr. Laura Parajon. “It is essential that we continue strengthening awareness, testing, and treatment of latent TB infection among providers and groups at high risk to make a lasting impact.” 
Targeted testing is an effective prevention strategy for reducing the morbidity and mortality of tuberculosis disease in the United States. Identifying and treating persons who have LBTI is important as an estimated 80% of U.S. TB cases are believed to be the result of longstanding, untreated LTBI. Treatment for TB infection can be given to prevent the onset of disease. 
TB has a greater impact on communities that have historically faced significant health barriers. For instance, people living below the federal poverty line in New Mexico have up to a four times higher rate of TB. Certain diseases such as diabetes also puts people at higher risk for developing TB. In 2021, 27% of persons with active TB had diabetes. In New Mexico, people born outside the U.S. and Hispanics are the groups that face the highest risk of TB infections.   
Even though the numbers of TB cases continue to decrease in the U.S. and New Mexico, it is important to remember to “Think TB,” especially if you have a persistent cough that will not go away. Ask your doctor to do a TB test to see if you may be infected with tuberculosis. 
World Tuberculosis Day commemorates the discovery of the cause of the disease by Dr. Robert Koch in 1882. Tuberculosis (TB) continues to affect people worldwide. In 2021, more than 10.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.6 million people died from the disease. 
For more information call the TB helpline at 505-827-2471 or please visit the NM DOH Tuberculosis Prevention and CDC TB websites.

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El Día Mundial de la Tuberculosis incrementa la concienciación sobre esta enfermedad mortal