A doctor discusses an X-ray with a patient. Photo courtesy of the CDC.
Each year, World TB Day is observed on March 24. This year CDC selected the theme "Find TB. Treat TB. Working together to eliminate TB." Tuberculosis is still a life-threatening problem in this country, with much work needed to eliminate this devastating disease. Anyone can get TB, but thanks to public health TB control programs in this country, essential services are being provided to prevent, detect, and treat TB. In fact, in the United States, the number of TB cases reported every year is continuing to decline, thanks in large part to the efforts of frontline staff at state and local TB control programs.
The following examples taken from CDC's "TB Personal Stories Project" show how TB control programs help patients and their families get back to living healthy, productive lives.
Esteban and Danielle's Story
Esteban and Danielle adopted two girls from Ethiopia, one of whom was found to have TB. Moreover, their daughter had a type of TB that was resistant to some of the most important TB medicines. While TB treatment is normally free to patients treated at public health TB clinics, their daughter needed expensive and special medicines. A nurse from the South Carolina TB Control Program worked with Esteban and Danielle to get their daughter into a program that provided this life-saving treatment free of charge. She also made arrangements for the nurse in their daughter's school to administer the medicines.
Esteban and Danielle believe that the TB control program's help made a big difference in their ability to cope with their daughter's major illness while they were adjusting to parenthood. "Our daughter is active and strong and playing sports now," says Esteban.
Learn more about how the TB control program helped Esteban, Danielle, and their daughters through this trying time.
Kenni, a wife and mother of two young daughters, became very sick in 2012. After numerous misdiagnoses, she finally learned she had TB. The Texas Department of State Health Services TB Control Program worked with Kenni through her long treatment regimen – which required taking multiple pills every day for nine months. Kenni is now TB-free and back to her busy schedule with her family and two jobs.
"I want others to know that if they or their loved ones ever come down with this frightening disease, there is help available from nurses and others in the state public health TB program," says Kenni.
Read more about Kenni's story and her experience with the TB control program staff.
Santos knows from personal experience that TB disease is debilitating and frightening. After his diagnosis, he was motivated to complete treatment by his family and his desire to be healthy. The dedicated staff at Georgia's Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Department Preventive Health Clinic also provided support and encouragement.
"The local TB program helped me out a lot. First, they helped me understand about TB. They gave me a lot of information that I needed. Also, they helped me out if I didn't have a ride to the clinic, because I didn't have a car; they gave me a ride whenever I needed something, they helped," Santos recalls. Now, he works as a peer counselor, providing education and support to others recently diagnosed with latent TB infection.
See how Santos learned to help others through his personal experience with TB.
CDC supports national TB surveillance, prevention, and control efforts and provides technical assistance, training, laboratory support, and guidance to state and local TB control programs. Together with our partners in the United States and around the world, CDC is committed to working toward a world free of TB.