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TUBERCULOSIS CAN HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT; TDH EMPHASIZES THINK, TEST, TREAT

World Tuberculosis Day was March 24, 2024, and the Tennessee Department of Health is reminding Tennesseans that Tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable and curable disease.  This can be achieved with early identification, testing, and treatment for those who have been exposed, carry an infection or evidence of active Tuberculosis.

“Our TB numbers in Tennessee are consistent with what we saw for the disease prior to the pandemic,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Ralph Alvarado, MD, FACP said. “We are particularly concerned with individuals under the age of 18 who have received a diagnosis of Tuberculosis in the last year, as children with TB often go undiagnosed or unrecognized.”

Tennessee Department of Health data indicates 116 individuals in Tennessee were diagnosed with Tuberculosis in 2023.  Of this total, 16 individuals under the age of 18 were diagnosed with the disease.

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TB is an ancient and well-described disease that primarily affects the lungs. TB spreads from person-to-person when an infectious individual coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings.

Common TB symptoms include cough, lasting longer than three weeks, fever, chills, fatigue, night sweats, coughing up blood, loss of appetite, and unintentional weight loss.  TB symptoms often mimic symptoms of other respiratory diseases, and the symptoms may depend on the location of TB in the body.

More information on TB exposure, risks, and treatment is available on the TDH website: https://www.tn.gov/health.html

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