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Local and Community News

Program Tracks Those at Risk for Tuberculosis in Tennessee

April 11, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Despite record low numbers of cases of tuberculosis in Tennessee, local health officials are organizing a program to screen those considered at high risk for the disease. This "targeted testing initiative" emphasizes education and testing of high risk individuals -- those who are foreign-born, homeless individuals, those living in group homes, those incarcerated and those who travel internationally on a regular basis, according to Angela Pierce, communicable diseases clinic manager for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

"We're trying to screen these people as they come in for other services," Pierce said. "We are also organizing programs to go out to businesses that traditionally employ foreign-born people." In Chattanooga's targeted testing initiative, skin tests are performed to see if a person is carrying the bacteria. A small portion of bacteria protein is injected under the skin. If the immune system reacts to the bacteria within 72 hours, it indicates the person has been infected.

According to Diane Denton, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health, last year, 50 percent of US TB cases, including 14 percent of Tennessee cases, occurred among foreign- born individuals. Nationally, at least 7 million foreign-born individuals are infected with TB, according to the CDC. "We're finding a lot of people are testing positive, but don't have the disease," Pierce said of the Chattanooga testing program. Two or 3 percent of those infected will develop the disease unless they complete medication to stop its progress, she said. If caught in the early stages, TB can be treated with standard medication, she added.


Back to other CDC news for April 11, 2002

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Adapted from:
Chattanooga Times/Free Press
04.07.02; Kevin Lusk

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
Tuberculosis (TB) Fact Sheet
Questions and Answers About Tuberculosis
More on Tuberculosis Prevention and Diagnosis in HIV-Positive Patients

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