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National News

Indiana Makes Progress Combating Tuberculosis Cases

April 15, 2003

Indiana health officials are making progress in combating tuberculosis through a program that provides free antibiotics to TB patients and closely monitors them. Improved monitoring is the main reason Indiana's TB cases fell from 248 in 1993 to 128 last year, said Paul Britton, manager of the Indiana Department of Health's TB Control Program. The agency -- through the state-funded TB Drug Program -- provides free TB antibiotics to local health departments, who distribute them to TB patients at no charge.

"People left on their own often don't take the full course of antibiotics," said Britton. "But in recent years, we've done a better job of directly supervising people with the active disease."

Using a CDC grant, the state health department also provides free lab testing to determine active TB cases. In the United States, tuberculosis strikes about 16,000 people a year, of whom about 1,000 die. Last year, 15 TB cases in Indiana resulted in death. Of Indiana's TB cases last year, 37 percent were foreign-born, Britton said.

Barbara Weber, TB regional nurse, said employees with Bloomington Hospital's Community Health Services directly observe TB patients taking antibiotics to make sure they take their full course of medicine. The Monroe County Health Department subcontracts CHS to distribute medicine and monitor patients with active TB. "We're flexible, depending on what works best for the patient," Weber said. "The person either comes to us or we go to the person's home."

Back to other CDC news for April 15, 2003

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Adapted from:
Associated Press

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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 and HIV in U.S. Midwest States