Tuberculosis update in King County | Public Health Insider

Rates are falling in our county, but there are warning signs.

  • Monday, March 25, 2019 2:17pm
  • News
Image courtesy the Center for Disease Control.

Image courtesy the Center for Disease Control.

Is eliminating tuberculosis (TB), the world’s leading infectious killer, possible?

That’s the question United Nations leaders took on at their first global conference dedicated to the fight against TB in September 2018. Their conclusion: it is possible, with a coordinated, global effort, and with more investment in diagnosis, treatment, research and development, and stronger public health systems.

Even though there are medications that can cure and prevent TB disease, too few around the world are currently able to get the treatment they need to make them well and prevent others from getting a disease that kills 4,500 people every day worldwide, and 1.6 million total in 2017 alone.

As we recognized World TB Day this past Sunday, we’re fortunate in the United States and here in King County to have TB programs that help to keep widespread outbreaks at bay.

“We are united with our partners across the world in committing to eliminate TB,” said Dr. Masa Narita, TB Control Director for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Whether you live in King County, Kuala Lumpur or Kinshasa, everyone deserves to breathe free from the threat of this curable and preventable disease.”

PAST TB RATES

Public Health – Seattle & King County’s TB Control Program ensures that people with active TB disease are diagnosed and cured, and that others in contact with them who are at highest risk of infection are screened, so that disease does not spread.

For 2018, Public Health’s TB Control Program is releasing new King County summary statistics. Key findings include:The total number of TB disease cases dropped to 93 in 2018, from 97 in 2017.

TB disease rates in 2018 were at an all-time low in King County, but are higher than state and national averages.

86% of reported TB disease cases were in people born outside the United States, in places where TB is much more common.

Two TB disease cases were multi-drug resistant, which are more difficult and more expensive to treat.

In a concerning development, the number of reported TB disease cases for the first two months of 2019 are triple what we would expect based on recent years, with 24 cases. It’s not clear what is causing this increase and the TB Control Program will continue to monitor the situation.

TREATING LATENT TB INFECTION PREVENTS DISEASE

In addition to active TB disease, an estimated 100,000 King County residents have latent TB infection without symptoms, in which the TB bacteria is dormant and not contagious. Approximately one in 10 people with latent TB infection will develop active TB disease in their lifetime.

Healthcare providers can prevent a large number of active TB disease cases by identifying and offering treatment to people with latent TB infection. Working together, public health professionals and community healthcare providers are essential partners in controlling and ultimately eliminating TB.


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 News

South King County area police respond to Seattle protests

The responding officers are members of the multi-agency Valley Civil Disturbance Unit, officials say.

Kabal Gill, owner of East India Grill in Federal Way, wears gloves to hand over take-out orders at his restaurant on March 23. File photo
New guidelines for Phase 2 reopenings in King County

All workers will need to wear masks as restaurants, retail shops and other businesses reopen.

This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. Courtesy photo
Inslee wants nursing home residents and staff tested by June 12

Governor says state will pay for test kits and personal protective equipment.

Stock image
Campgrounds to reopen in 22 Washington counties

Campgrounds in counties actively in Phase 2 of the reopening plan will begin to welcome visitors June 1, state says.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. FILE PHOTO
King County sheriff releases message about Minneapolis Police officer

Mitzi Johanknecht calls video of officer kneeling on neck of George Floyd ‘heartbreaking and disturbing’

Native EHS students graduate with help from alternative credit program

The program allows for cultural events — like the annual Canoe Journey — to count toward core school credit.

File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
                                File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
Rural King County mayors want state to let them enter Phase 2

Mayors cite heavy economic damage from prolonged shutdown.

New dashboard shows how far along King County is to meeting Phase II metrics

The county has met more than half its goals, but the ones it hasn’t met are critical in determining how many people are still being infected, and how quickly people are being tested.

Most Read