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Sunday Is World TB Day

DHEC educates residents

March 22, 2019 - 10:49 am

COLUMBIA, S.C.  — March 24 is World TB Day, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is taking the time to further educate residents about tuberculosis and remind them that it’s a preventable and curable disease.

Medicine is available to successfully treat someone who contracts TB disease if they seek medical help and follow the treatment plan. If someone has latent TB, which means they are infected but have no symptoms and cannot spread the infection, they can take medicine to avoid developing TB disease.

Yet far too many people in South Carolina and across the United States still suffer from the disease. In the past five years, South Carolina has averaged about 100 TB disease cases per year. Up to 13 million people in the United States have latent TB, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means as many as 17,000 people in South Carolina may have latent TB.

But there is good news: TB is steadily on the decline.
“Through increased awareness, prevention efforts, public health interventions, improved methods for early diagnosis and assuring completion of treatment, the number of TB cases in South Carolina has consistently remained below the national average for the eight-year period covering 2011 to 2018,” said Amy Painter, director of DHEC’s TB Control Division.
TB Control and its partners lead efforts to control and eliminate TB throughout the state.

“In observing World TB Day, we join local, state, national and global efforts to recognize achievements in TB prevention and control and renew our commitment to ending this devastating disease,” Painter said.

The 2019 World TB Day theme is “It’s Time” — time to recognize the work many have done in the effort to eliminate TB. This annual recognition commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB.

Tuberculosis is a disease of the lungs that can spread to individuals who are in contact for a long period of time with someone who has infectious TB and is coughing, sneezing or speaking. Signs and symptoms include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Signs and symptoms of TB disease of the lungs include coughing, chest pain and coughing up blood, and signs and symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.

For more information about World TB Day, visit, and learn more about the disease at


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