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    Baltimore, MD (March 21, 2014) - The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) joins the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local organizations in observing World TB Day on March 24, 2014.  This year’s national theme is 'Find TB. Treat TB. Working Together to Eliminate TB.'

    In 2013, Maryland reported 178 new cases of TB, a case rate decline of 21 percent from 2012.  Even though cases in Maryland have been trending downward over the last 10 years, with case rates ranging from 5.6 cases per 100,000 persons in 2004 to 3.0 per 100,000 in 2013, Maryland remains at or above the national average for the last five years as a high-incidence state.  Since 2008, over 70 percent of cases in Maryland were diagnosed in persons born outside the U.S., originating from countries where the burden of TB is much higher.

    TB patients often have other co-morbidities such as HIV infection or diabetes, which makes the treatment of TB more complicated.  In 2013, 8 percent of all TB cases in Maryland were also infected with HIV, which is a major risk factor for TB infection and disease.  The percentage of TB cases with diabetes in Maryland increased from 13 percent of TB cases in 2013 compared to 10 percent in 2009.  Diabetes complicates the treatment of TB due to changes that impact the absorption of the antibiotics used.

    “To prevent new TB infections the Infectious Disease Bureau of DHMH remains focused on reaching groups most vulnerable to TB including young children, individuals with compromised immune systems, diabetics, people living with HIV, substance abusers, and the homeless,” said Deborah McGruder, Director of the Infectious Disease Bureau.  “We are committed to our partnerships with local health departments, health care providers, community-based organizations, academic partners in medicine and public health and other public and private sector agencies that provide health promotion activities in addition to the testing, treatment, surveillance, and laboratory services needed to eradicate TB in Maryland.”

    Untreated disease also allows the unchecked spread of the disease to others.  Maryland regulations support the use of directly observed therapy (DOT) which means that every dose of TB medication taken is observed by a trained health care provider.  This is a standard of care endorsed by CDC and the WHO.

    For information about Tuberculosis prevention, testing, treatment and support services go to http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDPCS/CTBCP/SitePages/Home.aspx  or call 410-767-6698.

    For facts about TB and HIV co-infection go to http://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/factseries/tbandhiv_eng.htm

    For information about TB statistics go to http://www.cdc.gov/tb/statistics/default.htm

    For information on local health department TB control programs go to http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDPCS/CTBCP/CTBCPDocuments/TB-Health-Dept-List.pdf

    For Tuberculosis Information for International Travelers go to



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