Image courtesy Public Health Insider.

Image courtesy Public Health Insider.

Fewer TB cases in King County could be due to a decline in testing | Public Health Insider

Public Health officials are concerned about impacts on TB control in the wake of COVID-19.

  • Tuesday, March 30, 2021 10:22am
  • Life

The following was written by Public Health Insider, the official blog for Public Health — Seattle & King County:

In a typical year, 1.5 million people die of tuberculosis (TB) globally and 10 million fall ill with it. In Washington, 7 percent of people with active TB die. TB has been infecting and killing humans for thousands of years, and in fact, it is still one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. Locally, about 100 people are diagnosed with infectious TB every year in King County.

Public Health officials are concerned about impacts on TB control in the wake of COVID-19. For many years, TB case counts had trended lower over time. However, in 2019, Public Health’s TB Program saw a 43 percent increase in individuals diagnosed with active TB as compared to 2018. There wasn’t a clear driver behind this increase. Going into 2020, the TB Control Program expected to see similarly high levels of TB cases, However, in 2020, TB case counts dropped by 31 percent from 2019.

POTENTIAL REASONS FOR THE DROP IN CASES

Public Health’s concern is that due to the COVID pandemic, fewer people are seeking care for and being tested for TB. In fact, findings from a local a survey conducted locally among TB patients diagnosed throughout the COVID pandemic indicated that some patients delayed seeking care due to COVID-19 concerns and/or had their TB diagnosis delayed.

Delayed diagnosis can result in more severe disease and higher rates of transmission. Given this, Public Health is concerned that there are undiagnosed cases of active TB in our community. “It is crucial to test for and detect TB early in a person’s infection, maintain case management of infectious TB patients, and provide other important services and interventions to stop the spread of TB,” said King County TB Control Officer Dr. Masa Narita. “Without that, the gains made on a debilitating and deadly disease will be eroded.”

On this World TB Day, March 24, Public Health urges the community to remember that TB is still a concern, and that people should seek care if they have symptoms consistent with TB. Such symptoms include:

  • Coughing that lasts three or more weeks
  • Coughing up blood
  • Night sweats
  • Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing

Unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever, and chills are also symptoms of TB. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and ask about TB.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Life

Photo courtesy Public Health Insider
Confirm your vaccination: A new requirement for many activities in King County

If you want to go to large events or indoors to watch a movie or drink a beer, you’ll have to prove you’re vaccinated or COVID-negative.

Photo by Ray Miller-Still 
Two Buckley Log Show contestants team up to see which couple can hand-saw through a log the fastest.
At a glance | September 2021 events

Log show, rallycross racing, the return to school and more.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

By Larry Lark, contributor Residents of the PNW are no strangers to… Continue reading

2021 McLaren GT. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 McLaren GT

By Larry Lark, contributor I’m not sure words can do the 2021… Continue reading

2022 Kia Carnival SX. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2022 Kia Carnival SX

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s the way of the world. As old… Continue reading

Car review: 2021 Toyota Venza Limited
Car review: 2021 Toyota Venza Limited

By Larry Lark, contributor Many people are unfamiliar with Toyota’s Venza, but… Continue reading

Car review: 2021 Lexus LC 500
Car review: 2021 Lexus LC 500

By Larry Lark, contributor I can’t think of many more fun ways… Continue reading

2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE
Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE

By Larry Lark, contributor The mid-size 2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE has… Continue reading

2022 Honda Civic Touring
Car review: 2022 Honda Civic Touring

By Larry Lark, contributor You’ve all heard and read the idiom attributed… Continue reading

2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited
Car review: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited

By Larry Lark, contributor Hyundai’s “horse” in the compact sports utility market… Continue reading

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL

By Larry Lark, contributor It always starts around this time of year.… Continue reading

2021 Infiniti QX80 Sensory. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Infiniti QX80 Sensory

By Larry Lark, contributor If you’re looking for a full-size, affordable, luxury… Continue reading