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updated: 3/11/2013 2:02 PM

TB can be prevented; stop it in your lifetime

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is March 24 and the DuPage County Health Department encourages people to be screened for TB if they are in high-risk groups or if they provide services to people who are in high-risk groups.

Although TB is both preventable and curable, each year nearly two million people die of the disease. The bacteria can attack any part of your body, but usually the lungs. The number of TB cases has been declining in recent years, but the Health Department reminds residents that the fight against tuberculosis is not over.

High-risk groups include:

• Those who have had close contact with persons known or suspected of having TB.

• Foreign-born persons where TB has a high prevalence, such as countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Or individuals who travel to those areas.

• Residents and employees of high-risk congregate settings, such as nursing homes and behavioral health facilities, homeless shelters, alcohol and drug treatment centers and other long-term care facilities.

• Children exposed to adults in high-risk groups.

• Persons who inject illicit drugs.

• Those recently infected with TB, or who have a history of inadequate TB treatment. Those who have HIV infection or another condition that suppresses the immune system and therefore puts them at high risk for TB if exposed.

• Health care workers who serve high-risk clients such as those mentioned above.

The Health Department's TB Clinic offers TB screening, evaluation and treatment. Please call the Health Department at (630) 682-7400 for information on the TB Clinic.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.