County Sees Decline in Tuberculosis Rate

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), March 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

County Sees Decline in Tuberculosis Rate


Byline: Matt Cooper The Register-Guard

The incidence of tuberculosis in Lane County fell to the lowest rate in nearly two decades last year, giving officials something to cheer about on World Tuberculosis Day on Tuesday.

Three cases of tuberculosis in 2008 gave the county a rate of 0.9 cases per 100,000 in population, the first time since 1991 that the incidence rate dropped below at least one case per 100,000, the county said.

"We know that tuberculosis continues to be a profoundly serious worldwide disease and that the world is at our doorstep," said Betsy Meredith, public health nursing supervisor. "Lane County Public Health ... continues to provide an effective tuberculosis prevention and treatment program that's helping keep the community healthy."

Meredith credited the encouraging trend to efforts to teach physicians and other health care providers to quickly report suspected TB cases and an intensive response by the health department, including investigation, surveillance, isolation, quarantine and management.

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria that affects the lungs. Symptoms include a cough lasting longer than two weeks, sometimes with blood in it; a fever lasting longer than three days; night sweats; and unexplained weight loss of eight pounds or more.

The county has had several tuberculosis outbreaks since 1991. Between 1994 and 1998, there were 14 to 16 cases per year, for an incidence rate of 4.6 to 5.1; in 2001, there were 25 cases, for an incidence rate of 7.7, the county said.

The disease is spread through the air, from person to person, when someone who is infected coughs germs into the air. …

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